Wakefield Trinity’s Rugby League Revival: New Owner Sparks Excitement

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Wakefield Trinity’s Rugby League Rise Bolstered by New Owner’s Wealth

[Published: April 10, 2024 – Source: Rugby League News]

The financial fortunes of Wakefield Trinity have taken a significant turn in recent months, largely due to the deep pockets of their new owner, Matt Ellis. Rumors suggest that high-profile players like Tom Johnstone and Mike McMeeken have already verbally agreed to join the club in 2025, when Trinity are expected to once again be a Super League side. It’s an exciting time to be a Wakefield fan, with the club reportedly coming close to signing one of rugby’s biggest names in the past.

Wakefield’s Missed Opportunity with Jonah Lomu

Back in the late 1990s, shortly after Wakefield’s return to the Super League following their Championship Grand Final victory, the club made a bold attempt to lure New Zealand rugby union superstar Jonah Lomu to the 13-man code. At the time, it seemed like a far-fetched scenario, but according to Wakefield chairman Ted Richardson, they came desperately close to securing Lomu’s services.

With Lomu’s New Zealand Rugby Union contract expiring after the 1999 World Cup, the powerful winger’s services were in high demand from both rugby codes. Wakefield made no secret of their desire to sign Lomu, offering him a staggering £1 million deal over just two seasons – a figure that would have made him the highest-paid player in Super League, even in today’s standards.

“If it was for money I wouldn’t be in New Zealand. I still believe the All Blacks are the best side in the world.”

  • Jonah Lomu

Determined to play in another Rugby World Cup for the All Blacks, however, Lomu ultimately turned down Wakefield’s lucrative offer. Wakefield chairman Richardson expressed his disappointment, but the search for a marquee signing continued.

The following year, Wakefield faced a financial crisis, leading to the redundancy of players over the age of 24. As for Lomu, his rugby career was tragically cut short due to a kidney transplant, and he passed away in 2015 at the age of 40.

Wakefield’s Promising Future

While Wakefield were unable to secure Lomu’s signature, the club’s current financial resurgence, driven by new owner Matt Ellis, has them positioned to once again make a splash in the rugby league world. With the potential signing of high-profile players like Johnstone and McMeeken, the future looks bright for the Wakefield faithful, who may one day witness the arrival of another rugby superstar at their beloved club.

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