Trauma of past week irrelevant for Trinity

Wakefield's Lee Smith
Wakefield's Lee Smith

STAR BACK Lee Smith insists Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are fully focused on the job at hand, despite a traumatic week off the field.

Wildcats play host to Halifax in a crucial First Utility Super-8s Qualifier this evening, seven days after being crushed 46-4 at home by Widnes Vikings.

Jacob Miller of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats

Jacob Miller of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats

The following day three players were involved in a police incident in East Yorkshire, which led to half-back Tim Smith being charged with driving without due care and attention and with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

He has been dropped for today’s game, along with centre Reece Lyne and full-back Kevin Locke.

Prop Scott Anderson has been omitted due to a separate disciplinary issue.

The timing could not have been worse, with Wildcats fighting for top-flight survival, but Lee Smith is confident tonight’s performance will not suffer.

“It hasn’t been a distraction to me,” insisted the former Leeds Rhinos man, who is in his second spell at Wakefield.

“I don’t know about the other lads, everyone deals with these situations differently, but it doesn’t affect us really. We’ve just got to do what we’ve got to do.

“There was no guarantee those players would be playing anyway from last week.

“All you do is find out where you’re playing and crack on and hopefully do a job. It’s a must-win game and all we can do is win and concentrate on ourselves.”

Halifax are on the back of a stunning 34-12 victory over Championship league leaders Leigh Centurions. Smith warned: “They have got everything to play for.

“They’ll come here with no pressure on them at all.

“They will have a dig and try to rattle us a little bit, bring the game to us, but we’ll be ready for them.”

Smith is set to switch to full-back this evening, with Tom Johnstone coming in on the wing.

Pita Godinet partners Jacob Miller – who has signed a new two-year contract – at half-back and Joe Arundel is a straight replacement for Lyne.

Anthony Walker and Andy Yates are vying to take Anderson’s place and Max Jowitt and Jordan Crowther are also included in the initial 19-man squad.

Halifax have completed the permanent signing of Jacob Fairbank from Huddersfield.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Annakin, Arundel, Ashurst, Crowther, Godinet, Johnstone, Jowitt, Lauitiiti, Miller, Mullally, Scruton, Simon, Sio, L Smith, Tansey, Tupou, Walker, Washbrook, Yates.

Halifax: from Ambler, Bracek, Cahalane, Divorty, Eccleston, Fairbank, Heaton, Johnston, Kaye, Maneely, Manning, Moore, Murrell, A Robinson, C Robinson, Saltonstall, Saxton, Tangata, Tyrer.

Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).

Kick-off: Tonight, 6pm.