In what has been his first real stint in the top-grade, Wakefield Wildcats 22-year old forward Chris Annakin has been rewarded for a breakthrough season so far, with a new 2-year deal, one that will run until the end of 2015.
A member of the Wildcats 2009 Academy winning side, it has been his high-work rate and strong carries that have caught the eyes of staff and officials at Wakefield, with the young forward excited at the new deal and pleased to be staying at the club.
â€œMy goals at the start of the year were to make my debut and keep my shirt, then getting my future sorted was the next one after that,â€ said Annakin after penning his deal.
â€œIâ€™ve enjoyed my rugby this year and been really happy with how itâ€™s gone so far. Thereâ€™s still half the season to go so I want to kick on and keep improving.
â€œAt the start of last pre-season Iâ€™d had a shoulder operation so I didnâ€™t get to make the first impression I would have wanted on Rich (Agar). He told me to come back for this pre-season, rip in and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve done.
â€œAs pre-season went on Rich spent more time with me and he was true to his word and gave braless pokies me my opportunity.â€
With this being his second year with the full-time squad, Annakin admits that it was only this year that he realised that he was yet to fully embrace what it meant to be a professional rugby league player.
â€œI think Iâ€™ve come on leaps and bounds in terms of my professionalism this year. I take advice on board and put it into practise. All the players have been a big help to me but Kyle Amor and Justin Poore in particular.
â€œTheyâ€™re the first ones to tell me what I need to be doing better and they tell me when Iâ€™m doing well, and as a young player that fills you with confidence to hear it from players like that.â€
Someone who has been impressed with Annakin, has been Wakefield head coach Richard Agar, who praised the young forward his hard work and effort, both of which are now paying off.
â€œHeâ€™s worked really hard on his game and himself over the last 12 months,â€ Agar.
â€œHeâ€™s had a great impact for us so far this year and this is reward for his progress. Now we want him to push on and be a regular first grader. Itâ€™s very pleasing that heâ€™s a player that has come through from our Academy.â€