AFTER THREE months on the casualty list, centre Bill Tupou is determined to start earning his new contract when Wakefield Trinity play host to Huddersfield Giants tonight.
Trinity are on a five-game losing run in Betfred Super League and have slipped to eighth. Giants are one place and two points adrift and tonight’s losers will be in a relegation battle. Tupou has not played since suffering a groin injury in Trinity’s home win over Salford Red Devils in March, but this week agreed a new deal keeping him at the club until the end of 2022 – a decision he described as “easy for me, a no-brainer”.
Tupou admitted: “It has been a tough few months for me watching the boys go out there every week and play their hearts out and I’m stuck on the sidelines. I am really happy to be back this week and I can’t wait to do my job for the boys.”
Tupou’s goal is to lift some silverware during the next three years.
“That’s a big one for me,” stressed the 28-year-old former New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders back. “I’ve been here for a few years now and we’ve been close, finishing fifth, but it’s in the club and our team’s mind and hopefully we can do it this year.”
Tupopu’s return will give Trinity a timely boost, but teenage prospects Jack Croft and Lee Kershaw have gained first-team experience during his lay-off and he reckons his place isn’t guaranteed. He noted: “The young guys have stepped up, especially with the injury crisis we’ve had. They have filled in well. Hopefully they can be there throughout the next few years and be there backing us again.”
Tyler Randell (concussion) is also set to return tonight. For Giants, captain Leroy Cudjoe has recovered from a knee injury and could make his first appearance of the season. Jermaine McGillvary, Michael Lawrence and former Trinity forward Dale Ferguson are also in line for a recall and Louis Senior and Sam Hewitt drop out from the team beaten by Wigan Warriors a week ago.
Wakefield Trinity: from Brough, Caton-Brown, Croft, Crowther, England, Fifita, Gwaze, Hampshire, Hirst, Jones-Bishop, King, Kopczak, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tanginoa, Tupou, Wood.
Huddersfield Giants: from McIntosh, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, Gaskell, Frawley, Clough, Leeming, Matagi, Murphy, Mellor, Lawrence, O’Brien, Roberts, Ferguson, Ta’ai, English, Ikahihifo, I Senior.
Referee: Greg Dolan (Leeds).
Kick-off: Today, 7.45pm.