Lewis Murphy can further RL reputation – after being mistaken as a footballer

LEWIS Murphy can score big in his goal to kick on from a stellar debut season – after originally being confused for a football player.

The Wakefield winger was arguably the breakthrough star of last year, scoring 17 tries in a string of great performances.


Lewis Murphy is a Wakefield rugby league star – after they initially wondered if he was there for footballCredit: SWPIX.COM

Now he will have the man who took him into Trinity in charge after Mark Applegarth stepped up to become coach.

But his talent only shone through after he was convinced he was there for a trial with an oval ball rather than a round one – and a torrid first team debut.

Applegarth told SunSport: “Lewis is a special talent all right and he’s a bit of a freak of nature when it comes to his finishing.

“As part of our youth system, we have a college team that plays during the winter months and we have trials through the year.

“I rocked up to one and we had six kids there. Lewis was one but I thought he was there for football trials if I’m honest.

“I said, ‘Are you here for the rugby?’ He said yes and I replied, ‘Are you sure?’ He was definite.


“For the first two months, he kept his head down. He was pretty new to training, so we had to teach him how to move properly and things like catch-and-pass.

“Then all of a sudden, he just started opening up. He started doing that sidestep we saw last year and I thought, ‘He’s got some talent.’

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“When the games started, he scored something like 20 tries in eight games. So I said, ‘Listen Lewis, I think you’d go OK in an academy. Why don’t we bring you on trial there?’

“That year, I think we had five games left for the academy and reserves and he got 12 tries. I then thought, ‘You’re definitely a talent.’

“Chris Chester was coach at the time, so I told him, ‘We have a winger that reminds me a lot of Tom Johnstone. He’s got a ridiculous focus to training and his athletic ability is off the scale.’

“He’s now showing what we’ve known for three or four years.”

Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth brought Murphy into the club


Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth brought Murphy into the clubCredit: SWPIX.COM

Murphy has already signalled his intent for 2023 with a try in Boxing Day’s friendly at Leeds and much is expected of the 20-year-old.

Not that anyone would know he is coming off the back of making it as a Super League star, he is just focused on keeping his place in the team.

Applegarth added: “No-one can accuse Lewis of being anything other than level headed.

“He didn’t come back with an ego after what happened last year, he’s come back hungry for more.

“He’s a really easy character to manage. He rocks up to training and works hard and tries to improve every day. He’s a coach’s dream.

“But let’s be honest, he had a pretty tough debut.

Murphy is expected to be one of Super League's most exciting talents in 2023


Murphy is expected to be one of Super League’s most exciting talents in 2023Credit: SWPIX.COM

“We were playing at Belle Vue, half the floodlights weren’t working and we had a couple of second rowers in the centres as we had a few injuries.

“Leeds also put some pretty nasty kicks his way but I was more pleased at how he dealt with that, shrugged it off and did what he did for the remainder of the year.

“But we’ve also got Lee Kershaw, another kid I’ve known since he was 14 or 15-years-old, Jorge Taufua – who broke his arm last season and has had 200 or so NRL games.

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“Tom Lineham’s come back from Featherstone. That break there did him the world of good.

“So we’ve got four class wingers and only two spots. It’s definitely going to give me a headache but a good one.”

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