Wakefield head coach Richard Agar takes his Wildcats team to the Galpharm Stadium tomorrow afternoon looking to get back to winning ways.
It has been two weeks since the Wildcats last Super League outing against Wigan which rounded off a tough set of fixtures which included trips to Catalan and Leeds. In the break since the home defeat to the Warriors Paul Aiton suffered a broken jaw after being mugged while taking a short break having featured in every game since arriving at the club.
While the Papua New Guinea captain could be out for eight weeks it gives an opportunity to fellow hooker Andy Ellis to show his worth after spending time out on loan at Featherstone Rovers. Agar says the club need to focus on the short term future without the influential Aiton.
“We have to get on with it,” was Agar’s frank assessment in the pre-match press conference.
“It’s just one of those things. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and it’s not the first time these things have happened and it’s becoming a more regular occurrence.
“It has put a dampener on it and we have taken the opportunity to remind our boys about this kind of thing. Paul is a good citizen and not by any stretch of the imagination has he got any blame for this but sometimes you can find yourself in vulnerable positions and as rugby players that happens a bit more.
“We have pulled Andy Ellis back from Featherstone and we have also got Matty Wildie and James Davey out on dual registration at the moment but we have Andy back to play this weekend. He has obviously had a long wait to get his chance and to be very patient but that’s probably an indication of the form that Paul has had this season.”
Ellis has been at Rovers since his temporary switch in May and has contributed in their rise to currently sit top of the Championship. The former Harlequins man has made just two appearances in the Wildcats first team since his arrival from the Stoop and Agar says he now has a chance to stake a claim for a spot in the future.
“It has been good for him playing at Featherstone. Playing in the 20’s competition would have been hard work for him and to go there and Featherstone are travelling well and they are a good side. I’ve watched some of their games he’s played in and he’s had some good performances for them.
“That will certainly stand him in good stead from his last outing where he would have been a little bit under done from where he is now. We will see but for sure he will be more prepared from last time he had his chance.”
Ellis’ first game on his return to the club will be against the Giants, a team that have been in freefall since their terrific early season form where they sat at the top of the league. It has been a week of change at the Galpharm and as a result of the string of defeats Nathan Brown has left the club and Kevin Brown is no longer the Huddersfield captain.
Their form of late has been a role reversal of when Trinity last played the Giants as the visitors ran out 32-14 victors at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium in March. The claret and gold have lost eight out of their last ten matches but with Paul Anderson now in charge he has made it clear his player’s attitude needs to change.
Agar is expecting a different challenge to the performance they gave against Warrington in the Challenge Cup semi-final last Sunday.
“They tried their guts out last week and came up against a really good team. The effort they gave was incredible but they were just beaten by a better side. They have obviously had some changes, they have lost Nathan and Paul will be wanting to stamp his mark on the team very early I would imagine.
“Obviously they have had a short week and they will have lost some days with the post semi-final and losing a coach so they will have had a different week to what they normally would have had.
“Kevin Brown is probably not going to play for them as well so they are going to have some personnel changes in there. Generally a change of coach in the mid-season results in a bit of an up spurt in terms of effort as they try to concoct a reaction but I think they are a good side anyway.
“They have been in a bad run of form but I think they have the personnel to make plenty out of the season from here now in. We have to be aware that they will come out and wanting to show that response so we have to be on our guard for it. We were poor last time out as well too so I’d like to think our boys will go in with a response as well.”
Tickets and travel are still available to purchase up until 4pm today (Saturday 21st July) from the Ridings Centre Store with adults being charged £18 while concessions £12, 12-16 year olds just £5 with under 12’s tickets free. Wildcats supporters are reminded that all tickets do go up by £3 each on the day if you are to purchase them from the Galpharm Stadium.
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