Wildcats Nines coach Glenn Morrison has backed the club’s youngsters to shine in tonight’s Carnegie Nines Finals at Headingley.
Trinity face Cumbria at Headingley tonight at 6:20pm in the quarter final after topping the East Division of the competition after winning 11 games on the spin. That extraordinary run of form means they face the team who finished fourth in the West Division which is made up of players from Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington.
The Cumbrian’s ended up as runners-up in last year’s event as Warrington beat them in the Headingley final but the Wildcats will be looking to knock them out and reach the semi finals this evening.
Frankie Mariano, Isaac John and Paul Johnson all featured in the final round of group stage fixtures last Tuesday but will not feature in Leeds this evening with the club’s exciting young talent set to shine in front of the Premier Sports TV cameras.
“Unfortunately we’ve had a few knocks with the first team so most of our full timers have been pulled out tonight which is a bit of a shame,” said Morrison.
“We still have all of the kids that have played through the tournament and have done a great job so we are still confident we can do well.
“Even though we have had some full-timers available to us I had been reluctant to put them in because the young boys had done so well and they know our systems and I wanted to be fair to keep them in there.
“A few of them had a rest in one of the games last week but they still played in two of them while the senior players played. Without the experienced blokes the youngsters still know their roles and they have done the job so far so hopefully they can continue that tonight.
The action gets underway from 6pm as the hosts Leeds Rhinos face London Broncos before Wakefield look to progress in the knock out format. The Australian believes his team have a chance of going all the way, even without his senior players.
“I said right from the start there was no expectation to win but we wanted to do our best and win as many as we could. Deep down you always want to go into competitions and win them and nothing has changed there. We have a weakened squad from last week but I am still confident we can do well.
“Cumbria lost in the finals last year and they have a strong squad. They have some big strong boys so that is why we would have liked to have had some of our senior boys there but it will be a battle and a real challenge for our boys to step up and match it against men. I think if we can do well in that game then it will set us in good stead leading into the semi-final.”
The eight team event will be screened live on Premier Sports for the first time in Nines history. This opportunity offers the majority of Wakefield’s youngsters to appear on television for the first time and Morrison knows the players are excited about performing in front of the television cameras.
“I was speaking to the boys at the under 20’s training last night and a few of them said they had bought Premier Sports so their parents and grandparents can watch them. They are all really excited about being on TV and it should be a good night.”
Goal kicking full-back Jordan Grayston and winger Sam Fletcher are two of the Wildcats players looking to impress on the big occasion and have so far been standout players in the tournament. Grayston is also competing in the race to become Rugby League’s Fastest Man and is up against a Super League referee. Morrison has been impressed with the form of the two academy players.
“Fletch has came on so much this year, we changed him from a back-rower to a winger and he’s gone on leaps and bounds and has scored tries for fun in this Nines format, hopefully he will stand up again tonight and I am sure he will.
“Jordan has plenty of speed and he will be running in the fastest man race so we will see how he goes in that and hopefully he can do well in that and on the pitch in the tournament as well.
“It will be a tough race for him, I just hope he beats Thierry Alibert because if he doesn’t beat him then he will cop some stick!”
Tickets are available on the gate at Headingley tonight with tickets priced at £10 adults and £5 concessions.
Club 1873 funds the club’s youth development programme that is helping to nurture the exciting young talent on show in the Nines in recent weeks to make them ready to one day make the step up to the first team.
Club 1873 costs just £2 a week and gives you entry into weekly cash prize draws, two annual mega draws worth £2,000 plus other daily and monthly prizes, and in doing so you will be contributing to the future of your club.
Sign up by calling 01924 211611or visit our Ridings Centre Store or Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box Office.
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