SUPER League starting spots are up for grabs when Wakefield Trinity Wildcats visit St Helens on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Wildcats travel to Langtree Park - weather permitting - with a number of injury absentees but head coach Richard Agar hopes those involved give him a welcome selection headache ahead of the Super League opener at Bradford Bulls.
“It’s the major trial game for us but there will be five or six blokes missing through injury who would probably feature in the first game of the season,” said Agar.
“I’ve stressed to the players that it’s a great opportunity for some to stake a claim to be involved at the start of the season. These are good games for players to do just that.”
Oliver Wilkes is the latest casualty with a thumb injury sidelining him for two to three weeks.
The prop suffered the setback in Wakefield’s 38-10 trial game victory over Featherstone Rovers at the weekend and it is the fourth time in less than a year the Cumbrian has been out with the same injury.
Vince Mellars will also miss the trip, for what will be Jon Wilkin’s testimonial match, through a groin problem, as will captain Danny Kirmond.
Kirmond has taken injections for a groin problem that will see him “off his feet for five days”. Wakefield chose to give him the injections now to have him ready for the first game of the season.
On the plus side, Andy Raleigh and Frankie Mariano will get their first run-outs of the close season.
Wildcats will go into the match on the back of a training week hit hard by the cold weather, but Agar is not too concerned by the interruptions.
“It’s certainly a bit different to last week,” said Agar, referring to his side’s warm weather training camp in Portugal.
“But it’s the same for all clubs this week, everybody is in the same boat. It’s been the same for the last two or three years at this time of the year so it’s nothing we’re not prepared for.”
“We’ve managed to use the 3G surface at Kirkstall and the facilities up at Crofton, plus we had a good week last week under our belts.”
Agar has also paid tribute to Wilkin, who will be celebrated on the Langtree Park pitch on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a major trial game for us but it’ll also be great to be involved,” Agar commented.
“Jon is a guy who really cares a lot about the game. He’s not just been great for Hull KR and St Helens but for rugby league as a game.”
Check the official St Helens website or the club’s Twitter account @saints1890 to check if the match will beat the current cold weather conditions.
Wildcats squad from: Mathers, Fox, Lyne, L Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Poore, Aiton, Raleigh, Mariano, Lauitiiti, Washbrook, Singleton, Cowling, Trout, Wildie, John, Annakin.
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest Wakefield Trinity Wildcats news.
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Weather for Wakefield
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west