SUNDAY’s clash with out-of-form Huddersfield Giants will mean that little bit extra to Wakefield Wildcats winger Ben Cockayne.
Not only does the former Hull KR man celebrate his 29th birthday this weekend, he’s also good friends with new Giants head coach Paul Anderson.
Anderson, who replaced Nathan Brown earlier than expected on Monday, was Cockayne’s coach while he was an 18-year-old playing for Normanton Knights.
More than a decade on he’ll be looking to cross the whitewash in the red, white and blue of Wakefield to try and help the Wildcats to a first win in five and inflict defeat on his old pal in his first game in charge.
“I know Paul well, he’s a good friend of mine,” said Cockayne.
“We’re both Normanton lads and he coached me when I was a young player with the Knights and we’ve kept in touch ever since then.
“I think he’ll do well there, he’ll be very hard on their discipline, he’s a real stickler for that.
“It’ll bode well for them I think but hopefully he won’t start doing well until after the game on Sunday!”
Cockayne, who’s bagged ten Super League tries so far in his debut season for Wakefield, says the week off should do him and his team-mates the world of good going into the game.
But he’s wary of the influence a new coach can have in charge of a team, something highlighted when Mike Rush took over from Royce Simmons at St Helens earlier this season.
“I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or bad thing for us,” said Cockayne regarding Brown’s departure from the Giants.
“They’ve had a dip in form and the head coach has been sacked but then the new coach might come in, give them a big boost and the players will start playing for him and they’ll go all guns blazing.”
He added: “We were given a week off last week to recharge so we should all be fresh to go. The Wigan result wasn’t good but a break will hopefully work for us.”
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest Wakefield Wildcats news.