Widnes Vikings’ artificial pitch may be controversial but Wakefield Trinity Wildcats stand-off Paul Sykes is looking forward to playing on it tonight (kick-off 8pm).
The Stobart Stadium ‘i-pitch’ has drawn mixed reactions throughout the rugby league world but Sykes has yet to experience the surface.
Wildcats team mate Richie Mathers branded the pitch an “absolute joke” after Wakefield opened last season with victory at Widnes and others have also called it into question.
But Sykes, who only joined Wakefield midway through last season, will reserve judgement until he’s played on it.
“I think it’s going to be a fast pitch,” he said. “I’ve not played on it yet so it’ll be a first experience for me, hopefully I’ll like it. I take to fast pitches so it should be a good game.”
The former Bradford Bulls man may not have been playing at all had initial fears over a fractured skull sustained in Wakefield’s last Super League match against Warrington Wolves proved correct.
Luckily, scans revealed there was no fracture and Sykes is free to return to action in Cheshire.
“I went straight to A and E after and got a couple of scans,” he commented. “Initially they thought I had a fracture but I got a second opinion and there was no fracture so I’m ready to go.
“I’m fine, it took a few days to get over it. I had a bit of swelling and I was a bit worried when I went to A and E for a scan but a couple of days later I got the scans back saying it was fine.
“I went for a barge over try and I just thought I got a bang on the head, a bit of a bump.”
Wakefield will return to full-strength for the clash with the Vikings and Sykes believes Wakefield are not too far away from hitting top gear.
“Having a week off I feel a bit refreshed. A few of the boys have had a week off playing and we just want to get back to winning ways,” he said.
“We’ve been unlucky in a lot of our games that we’ve played and we’re not that far away, we just need to keep plugging away.
“We need to tighten a few areas up in the middle of the park in defence, we’ve been working on that and hopefully we can put it out against Widnes and get two points.”
Sykes is just one try away from reaching a century of career tries following his brace in the defeat against Warrington last time out, and is also holds the current longest scoring streak in Super League, having chalked-up points in Wakefield’s last 31 games.
The only game he has not scored points in for Wildcats was his debut at London Broncos, when Wakefield went down 36-0.
The stand-off is not one to keep a track of statistics and records but admits it would be nice to keep the scoring streak going and tick over 100 tries this weekend.
“It’ll be nice to get it,” he said. “It’s something that’s nice to tell the kids but it doesn’t play on my mind so I just try and go out there and play the best I can. It’s not something I look for but it’s an achievement.”