Full-back Richie Mathers says Wakefield Trinity Wildcats must be ready for the physical test Huddersfield Giants will provide at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium today (kick-off 3.30pm).
Paul Anderson brings his Giants side to Wakefield leading the way in Super League thanks to three straight wins to open their campaign.
Mathers is not surprised by the bright start Huddersfield have made but is surprised by the physical aspect of their play.
He compares it to Bradford Bulls’ much-feared ‘awesome foursome’ from over a decade ago, which included the Giants head coach alongside Joe Vagana, Stuart Fielden and Brian McDermott, and which played a big part in Bradford’s Super League success.
“They’ve started well for the last two or three years, they’ve started exactly the same,” said Mathers.
“What has surprised me is the physicality that they’ve brought this year. Thinking back to when I was a young lad, the last time I saw a side as big as Huddersfield was when they had the Bradford sides when I played for Leeds in 2002.
“They [Bradford] had the ‘awesome foursome’ and Huddersfield seem to have that across the park - in the forwards but they’ve also got some inside backs. They don’t really dress it up in and how aggressive they play and we’ve got to match that. It’s going to be a big test.”
Wildcats head coach Richard Agar was scathing of his side’s physicality in their opening day loss against Bradford but Mathers believes Wakefield have improved since then, with that loss acting as a bit of a wake-up call.
“I think we are improving, we had to improve after that first defeat at Bradford,” Mathers said.
“But if you look at the bigger picture it probably did us the world of good. We’d beaten two Championship sides [in trial matches] and probably fell in love with ourselves a little, bit but then we had the harsh reality of going to Bradford and getting well beat.
“It was a good reminder of where we needed to be and we managed to turn that around with the last two victories, but it’s a long season, it’s Round 4 and we play the form side in Super League this weekend.”