Wakefield Wildcats will travel to face Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day to kick-off their pre-season schedule and participate in the first game on the Champions new £1 million pitch at Headingley Carnegie in the Heatshot Festive Challenge.
The last two Boxing Day clashes have seen crowds of over 9,000 and after the pulsating competitive fixtures in 2012 between the sides, another big crowd is expected on Wednesday 26th December, kick off 11.30am.
Brian McDermott’s men knocked the Wildcats out of the play-offs after a tight encounter after Trinity beat the champions at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium in July to increase the rivalry between the clubs.
The new pitch, which includes new drainage and undersoil heating, will guarantee the fixture regardless of the winter weather of the Festive period.
Tickets, which are discounted for 2013 Wildcats Gold Membership holders start at £17 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for under 16s will be go on sale within a fortnight. Keep a check on the Wildcats website, Twitter and Facebook for updates of when the club receives their allocation of tickets.
Wildcats back-rower and five time Grand Final winner with Leeds Ali Lauitiiti was at Headingley to help lay the first piece of grass on the pitch is looking forward to the clash.
“It’s always good to be back at Headingley and it’s nice to see the pitch being done up so it’s going to be good for both teams and the fans too.
“Losing the play-off game to Leeds has played on the back of your mind a little bit, we want to rectify it for next year and hopefully we can build and learn from that. We did play really well against Leeds and we gave it our all and played well as a team, the lads are looking forward to Boxing Day.
“We’ve had a six or seven week break and now we are back in training the boys have been working hard and we’re all itching to get started but we know there is plenty of hard work to do in this two months before the start of the Super league season.
“The fans have been great ever since I got there and not only myself but the rest of the boys talk about the impact they had and they were a big part of our achievement last year so it will be nice to see them again.”
Meanwhile Super League’s record try scorer Danny McGuire admits Wakefield are his second team.
“It will be different for me because I’ve not played in the game for a while so I’ll have to go easy on the Christmas dinner this year. I’ve been up watching the last few years and it’s a great day and also a tradition, everybody loves coming to Boxing Day and it will be good.
“Wakefield look good this year and if I’m honest they’re probably my second team so it will be good against them.
“I thought they went on a great run towards the end of the year and I really like Rich Agar as a coach and we had some tough games against them last year. They beat us at their place and we got the better of them in the play-off game and that was a really tough night was that. We went on to win it so we were pretty happy but I think Wakefield will be strong again.
“There is a good rivalry and I think the clubs work together and get on well, I’ve got some good mates there that helps and there will be a bit of banter and fun flying about before the games so it’s healthy but soon as you get on the field you want to do the best for your team.”
The Wildcats anticipate receiving tickets within the next ten days and they will be put on sale as soon as possible.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.