Wakefield head coach Richard Agar is eager to see his troops in action for one last time against Doncaster before Super League gets under way.
The Wildcats have had a pre-season of mixed fortunes after losing two trial fixtures and a convincing 38-10 victory over Featherstone at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium. The build-up to the new campaign has also seen a fair share of injuries that are now starting to ease with a host of players set to return on Sunday.
Kyle Amor is in the mix for his first appearance in 2013 while skipper Danny Kirmond returns. Dean Collis, Oliver Wilkes and Vince Mellars are also in the squad and set to feature at the Keepmoat Stadium with a much more positive outlook regarding the fitness of Andy Raleigh and Tim Smith.
The Dons are the Wildcats new partner club and Agar is looking forward for the extra match practice.
“We will take an opportunity to give most of our squad a game,” admitted Agar.
“We think it’s vital, particularly for some of our bigger guys that we can give them as much game time under their belts as possible before round one.
“Some of them have had a pretty punctuated off season with injuries and post-season operations so we want to get them running as quick as we can and obviously we are looking for improvements on our showing last week. It will also give us an opportunity to look at a couple of different combinations should other guys that have fitness doubts over them not make it for round one. We will be looking at a few different things and what fits best for the side.”
At the turn of the year Agar led a very successful pre-season camp in Portugal followed by victory over Featherstone. Then Trinity came up against an in-form St. Helens team and the head coach admits his side have lots to work on.
“We saw our major run-out in pre-season against Saints last week that we had a number of players missing with a below par performance. We competed ok for lengths of time but from a purely performance aspect there were lots of things that we weren’t too pleased about.
“We cancelled the day off this week and we spent a longer time than usual in front of video to gain a few answers from the players and throwing a few reminders out there.
“It’s important that we adhere to our systems this week and we get close to the style of footy that we know can be successful for us because I don’t think we saw too much of that last week. Having said that we need to give ourselves a chance to do that and that means doing the fundamental things of the game really well for long periods.
“We’ll get a bit of practice again this week as well as giving guys in the middle valuable game time along with giving a couple of the young guys like Reece Lyne and Brad Singleton extra time. They are new, young, hungry and want to stamp their mark and over the last two trial games they have stood out for us so there is competition for places.”
One notable player involved for the Wildcats on Sunday will be young half-back Bobbie Goulding. The former Warrington playmaker has joined Doncaster on dual registration for the 2013 season to play first team rugby in the Championship. Agar explains the reasoning behind the decision.
“Bob’s new to full-time so he’s adapting and acclimatising really well. One thing you can say is he’s a super young professional in terrific shape because he’s a fit young kid that looks after himself incredibly well.
“I’m really confident that given time he’ll come through and be a good half-back for a long time in Super League. He is young though with a lot of developing to do yet so we need to be patient with him, but his first signs of playing senior football with Doncaster last week was good.
“He dropped into a team in a pivotal position after one training session under his belt. He wouldn’t have known his teammates too much, the style of play, the calls and so for him to come away with a good performance will do his confidence no end of good.
“It’s his first step on the journey to be a senior professional, we know where he is at and we do have a few knocks to our halves and we are going to look at a few different things on Sunday. He’ll be looking forward to a big game.”
Tickets are available on the gate at the Keepmoat with adults will be charged £12, concessions £6, 5-16 year-olds £2 while under 5s gain access for free.
If you require any more information about ticketing for the final pre-season friendly before the Wildcats open up their Super League campaign then call the Dons direct on 01302 765888.
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