With three of their players named in the 2018 Super League Dream Team, it’s no surprise to any who the poster boys for Wakefield Trinity are right now. Matty Ashurst, Bill Tupou and Tom Johnstone – who, along with Reece Lyne, earned international honours post-season – were all superb last season and thoroughly earned their spots in the competition’s team of the year.
However, all three of those players play on the left-side of Trinity’s attack and they all play outside Australian half-back Jacob Miller who, despite being the competition’s leading provider of assists with 28, was overlooked for the Dream Team.
Now, that isn’t to say that St Helens’ pair Jonny Lomax and Danny Richardson weren’t worthy of their half-back nominations but Miller’s influence over Chris Chester’s Wakefield team was arguably more vital for Trinity than either of the Saints players was for the League Leader Shield winners. After all, Wakey are a team who, having recorded back-to-back fifth placed finishes, are certainly punching above their financial weight and the impact a talent like Miller has on that team is clear.
The main organiser in Trinity’s ranks in 2018, he provided countless opportunities for Ashurst, Tupou and Johnstone to shine outside him on the left flank. While Wakefield lined up with the likes of Liam Finn and Ryan Hampshire alongside him in the halves, Miller was nigh-on a permanent fixture in the team when fit and his standing as the team’s on-field leader was cemented in the off-season when he was named club captain ahead of the 2019 season.
It will be interesting to see how the arrival of former Trinity man Danny Brough joins Miller in the starting thirteen. Given Miller’s strong relationships with the three Dream Teamers on the left hand side, he will most probably continue in that role but the left edge is indeed where Brough has lined up during his time with Huddersfield and may well be picked to play there. It shouldn’t be ignored, either, that the pair of them will both be keen to be the tactical director on the field. That, again, is somewhere Miller shone in 2018 but Brough has the reputation of being one of the very best at organising a team in Super League – while also boasting a sterling kicking game.
Nevertheless, Jacob Miller was without a shadow of a doubt one of Trinity’s very best players last year and is the one who makes Chester’s team tick. His ability to provide for his teammates is second-to-none and, with the new structure ensuring that the fifth placed team reaches the end of season play-offs in 2019, a repeat of their 2017 and 2018 showings will see Miller and Wakefield take part in the post season drama come the autumn.