Wildcats vice-captain Richard Mathers cannot wait for Sunday’s trip to Huddersfield after Super League had a week off due to the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
It was a weekend that saw two of the full-backs former clubs make it to Wembley in Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves, the latter convincingly beating this weekend’s opponents, the Giants. The cup fixtures mean Trinity’s last outing was the 52-10 home defeat to Wigan which has given Richard Agar’s men time to reflect on the disappointing performance at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
There have been eight games since the last break with the Wildcats having mixed results including winning three games in a row. Mathers says he has used the time off wisely.
“I think you get to this stage of the season and everybody is carrying a few bumps and bruises, so whilst there is no doubt we would all have liked to be in the semi-final, the reality is we weren’t so you have to use that time as best as possible,” Mathers told the pre-match media conference which you can see on Wildcats TV HERE.
“A lot of the lads stayed and trained but a lot of them have had time off which is good for body and mind to have a break. I certainly feel refreshed after coming in on Monday and I’m really looking forward to getting into the next chunk of games.”
During the break, Super League’s top tackler Paul Aiton suffered a broken jaw in a mugging whilst taking a short holiday. The attack has ruled the hooker out for up to eight weeks and the back admits Aiton is a crucial member of the Wakefield side.
“It is a massive blow, he has arguably being in our top two or three players all season and he has played big minutes every week with the vast majority at hooker before slotting into the back-row. I don’t think he’s had the plaudits outside the club as much as he has inside the club.
“I don’t think I’ve played with a player that is as tough as Paul for a long time, with some of the feats he has done on the field, it’s a massive blow.
“He will leave a big void, without a shadow of a doubt, but that leaves an opportunity for somebody else to step in. We’ve had Andy Ellis doing really well on loan at Featherstone and that could be an opportunity for him and Kyle Wood has done well off the bench too.
“There are three or four options for Rich Agar to use as he sees fit so with disappointment comes an opportunity, but they are big shoes to fill.”
The short trip to the Galpharm awaits the red, white and blue with the hosts having lost eight out of their last ten games with their only two victories coming against bottom of the table London Broncos. That form has seen the Giants slump to 7th position in the league ladder after leading for the early part of the season.
Their lack of victories has seen the club bring forward the appointment of Paul Anderson to head coach with Nathan Brown leaving his post. Kevin Brown is also no longer the captain ahead of his 2013 move to Widnes but could miss the rest of the season with a troublesome ankle injury. Mathers is not taking the claret and gold easy though and anticipates a tough encounter.
“They are struggling for consistency at the moment and they have been for quite a while. They have had a disrupted week with a bit of turmoil with them changing coach but sometimes as we see across all sports when a new coach comes in the following performance is a big one to impress him.
“We are expecting a performance to impress Paul Anderson but also to put a few wrongs right after they lost the Challenge Cup semi-final. We are expecting a reaction on Sunday.”
Tickets for Sunday’s game (kick-off: 3pm) will remain on sale until 4pm on Saturday afternoon. Full details of prices can be found HERE.
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