Wakefield Wildcats have a plan in reserve for squad players

Tom Johnstone
Tom Johnstone

RESERVE GAMES and loan deals will be used to keep Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ squad match fit, but the club have not given up on dual-registration.

Wildcats are not entering the new reserve competition – set up as an alternative to dual-registration – but a “select” side beat Dewsbury Rams reserves in friendly last weekend and were in action again today at home to Hull’s second string (1.30pm).

“We have opted not to play in the reserve grade competition,” coach Brian Smith said. “We just don’t have the finance to carry another 10 or 15 players, but we are organising some games to give our boys some match fitness and development and also to give the better under-19s players a chance to develop at a higher level as well.”

Smith said Wildcats will also look to loan out players, probably after the busy Easter period.

Wakefield had partnerships with London Broncos and Featherstone Rovers last year. Chairman Michael Carter said: “We’ve not got anything lined up with dual-registration.

“We’ve had discussions with a couple of clubs, but nothing came of it. We will probably take a look at it next week, after [today’s] final reserve friendly and we could also look at arranging a few more reserve games as the season progresses.”

Meanwhile, Wildcats will attempt to get off the mark in First Utility Super League when they travel to Hull KR tomorrow. Wildcats lost 24-16 at home to Widnes in round one and were crushed 40-6 at Castleford Tigers last week and Smith described them as a “work in progress”.

He said: “We have got new players and a lot of ground to make up. We were very disappointed with our overall performance last week and only really happy with our start and the odd play or set or two throughout the course of the game.

“We also recognise Cas are a good team and they played really well.

“They gave us a taste of where we want to be and are working towards.”

Smith added: “We have got to find improvement. We have got to find a balance between boosting confidence and at the same time challenging the guys to find some extras. The decent thing we have had this year is we’ve tasted it a couple of times. The pre-season game against Leeds was a feeling of what we are capable of.

“We know we have got it in us to get to that level and then we need to keep finding it, because as the season goes on other teams will keep improving as well.”

Smith said Wildcats have been working hard on defensive combinations this week, but stressed there is enough experience in the playing and coaching staff to put things right.

Danny Kirmond and Ashley Gibson have dropped out of the side for tomorrow’s game, with Chris Annakin, Tom Johnstone, Jon Molloy and Mickael Simon all vying for a call-up.

Rovers are without the injured James Donaldson. Liam Salter, James Greenwood and Ryan Shaw could come into the 17.

Hull KR: from Cockayne, Dixon, Thornley, Minns, K Sio, Blair, Kelly, Green, Lawler, Tilse, Horne, Clarkson, Allgood, Walker, Holker, Mulhern, Salter, Greenwood, Shaw.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, B Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Howarth, England, Ashurst, Arona, A Tupou, M Sio, Anderson, Walton, Annakin, Molloy, Simon.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.