Wildcats second-rower Frankie Mariano admits he has a point to prove when he lines up against Leeds Rhinos at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium this evening.
The former Hull KR man has featured in just eight first team games in 2012 after injuries have hampered the powerful forwards season and he finds himself out of contract at the end of the year.
Head coach Richard Agar confirmed last week that Mariano will play against the world champions and it is an opportunity the 25-year-old cannot wait for.
“It is a big chance and I am trying to prove a point actually,” said Mariano.
“I am raring to keep on here and I want to make a statement. I have a lot of motivation and I have my family to think about but I will try not to think about that too much because I don’t want that to affect my game. I just need to go out there and play like I know I can.
“I want to stay here and that’s what this week is all about, getting in the team and keeping my shirt to earn a contract for next year. It is a great loss in losing Ali but it brings a chance for me. When Ali comes back into the squad I would like to think I can play with him. I need to take the chance with both hands and hopefully keep my shirt this time.”
Mariano has only featured in one game since June 3rd, the 34-26 defeat at Bradford where he picked up a groin strain. He explains what a frustrating season it has been on a personal note so far.
“It has been a pain has this season, now I am fully fit I need to keep that way so I can prove to Rich that I am a worthy player for the future to keep my shirt.
“I am feeling good, all the treatment I have had has been brilliant and the physio’s have looked after me really well so now I am fully fit I’m concentrating on tonight and aiming to get the win.
“Every game is tough for us so it is just another game to me. They are an unpredictable side and can turn it on at any moment, so we have to switch on for the full 80 and hopefully keep them out.
“We have to play the full game, we know we can do it and we almost managed that at Headingley and if we can do it on Monday then we feel we should get the result.”
The clash with the champions will see Trinity sport a brand new one-off kit that is in aid of Wakefield Hospice with £1 going from each ticket to the worth charity. Instead of the red, white and blue Mariano and his team mates will be the yellow, white and green for one night and the back-rower is proud to support the magnificent work done by the Hospice.
“It is a brilliant cause and it’s great that the boys have been up to the Hospice and can turn out in the shirts this evening. The nurses here are the sort of people that go unnoticed so it is great the club recognise that and help them out as much as they can.
“Nothing will be different for us once we are out on the field except the colour of the shirts, we will play as normal and hopefully get the result.”
Tickets can be purchased on the gate for tonight’s encounter with the Rhinos at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium. The Voice star Frances Wood will also be performing in the build-up to the derby clash with adult’s tickets starting from £19.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.