WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats captain Steve Southern says victory over derby rivals Castleford Tigers will be the perfect response to last weekend’s woes at London Broncos.
Southern said the journey back from Twickenham Stoop after a 36-0 loss against the Broncos was a long one, but focus quickly turned to tonight’s big clash at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).
“If I could put a finger on [what went wrong at London] I’d be the coach,” he said.
“I couldn’t tell you, it was weird and uncharacteristic of us as a team after the start we’ve had. That’s football and what’s good about football is there’s always a week to improve and what a game to do it, the derby game on Friday night.”
Wildcats are hoping for a sell-out tonight and Southern, who’s enjoyed the vocal backing of the Wildcats fans so far this season, says the Wakefield supporters can act as a 14th man to spur their side on.
“The game against Catalan, our fans packed one end and you could hear them which was amazing,” he said.
“My first game against Widnes everyone stacked that back end and when we ran out and looked at that end, me and Paul Aiton had goosebumps.
“Against Catalan was the same thing. You don’t realise just how important fans are when they’re screaming for us and enjoying themselves – it lifts the team. You could say it’s a fourteen man team when you’ve got the fans at your back like that.”
Playing two games in four days over the hectic Easter weekend schedule is a first for the Wakefield skipper but he believes victory over Castleford would give them a big lift going into Monday’s clash at the DW Stadium against Wigan Warriors.
“It is something new to me,” he admitted.
“When I’m back home playing and the guys play State of Origin on the Wednesday and then play on the Friday, if they have a really good win on the Wednesday then they’re jumping out of their skins for the next games.
“It’s really important that we start really good this weekend and hopefully have a good win and hopefully we can kick-on to Monday. There might be some sore bodies but they’re going to be sore as well but that’s how footy goes over here, you’ve got to take it and it should be interesting.”
It’ll be a competitive derby first for Southern, but for his opposite number Danny Orr the derby match is a familiar experience.
“It’s a bit special, there’s excitement and the rivalry between the fans so I always look forward to them,” he said.
“I’ve got experience but I get nervous before every game, the butterflies in the stomach and if I don’t I feel them there’s something not quite right. I’m sure if this place is packed on Friday night I won’t be any different.”
Orr is close friends with some Wakefield players, namely Richie Mathers, who’s on a season-long loan with Wakefield from Castleford, and Oliver Wilkes.
But although there’s been plenty of banter in the build-up, all friendships will be put to one side for 80 minutes tonight.
He said: “I’m good friends with Ollie Wilkes and Richie Mathers. We still get on really well. I was round at Ollie’s the other week and there’s banter that goes on. It’s all good but as you get out there on the field it all goes.”
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