Richard Agar is weighing up his selection options ahead of Friday night’s trip to Headingley Carnegie.
The Wildcats renew rivalries with Champions Leeds Rhinos for the seventh time in under two years, looking for a win that could catapult them into the top eight should the result between Hull FC and Bradford Bulls go Trinity’s way.
With Dean Collis (hamstring) and Paul Sykes (broken leg) it could give the opportunity for two of the younger members of the squad to step up to the plate and make a name for themselves on the big stage.
Both Reece Lyne and Bobbie Goulding are named in Agar’s 19-man squad and whilst the Hull-born centre looks likely to play, Agar says he is still considering his best option to play at half-back.
“We’ve got a couple of young guys as options with Danny Cowling and Reece (Lyne), and we’re going to go with Reece. We’ll have a look at how we go at halfback. We’ve got a couple of options there.
“We’ve brought young Bobbie into the squad as we feel he’s been going really well at Dewsbury. He’s taken some time as you would imagine to get used to a full-time environment and the differences to how we play compared to his old club. But we feel he’s made really good progress. We’ve put him in the nineteen but whether he plays or not, we don’t feel he’s too far away from getting a run with us.
“It would be great if we get the right time and the right opportunity to have a look at him. We’ll decide whether he makes the line-up or not. All our games in the run-in are important games and big games, and quite a few of them are against the best sides in the competition, so it’s a good way to find out about him. Whether this one comes too soon for him, I’m not too sure.”
The Rhinos have injury concerns of their own and it remains to be seen if Kevin Sinfield will make a comeback on Friday evening, in the return game next week or at all. But with injuries part and parcel of the game and the strength of the Rhinos squad, Agar certainly doesn’t think Leeds are as significantly hampered as is being made out.
“I would say they’ve arguably the deepest and most talented squad in the game so when you look at the calibre of some of the players they’ve got back in. Kylie (Leuluai) is back in; Brett Delaney’s also there; you’ve got JP (Jamie Peacock) up front; Ian Kirke coming off the bench and an experienced back-up like Richard Moore, I don’t think the quality dilutes too much.
“Obviously Kevin (Sinfield) and Danny (McGuire) are big misses for them and in the past some of their leaner times have come without him in the team. It’s not something we’ve put most of our focus on. We’ve focussed on ourselves and we know we’re going to have to play well.”
The loss of Sinfield and McGuire will impact on the Rhinos kicking options, whilst the Wildcats will also be minus a key man in that respect with Sykes watching on from the sidelines.
Given the nature of some of the tries conceded at Headingley in past meetings, the Wakefield boss believes that is an area where the Wildcats need to be on the money.
“He (Sykes) will be a loss for us. He’s certainly been a very important and influential player for us, so it puts a lot of emphasis on how we kick the ball. We’ve got to stand up in that area and put a lot of focus and emphasis on how we turn our sets over.
“We’ve gone there a couple of times before and been badly burnt by how we’ve turned the ball over because they’ve got such pace and ability to counter attack from deep. That’s a really big area of the game for us.”
Tickets for the game go off sale from the Wildcats at 5.30pm on Thursday but will be available on the gate. Details of prices can be found HERE.
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