Wakefield Wildcats’ Tony relishing clash with former club

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RETURNING full-back Motu Tony is relishing the chance to take on his old club Hull on Sunday and help Wakefield Trinity Wildcats bounce back from a disappointing defeat in the capital.

The 30-year-old endured a difficult start to life at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium with a hand injury ruling him out of the opening rounds and a six-week spell of compassionate leave seeing him return to New Zealand.

Tony returned to make his debut with a superb performance to help Wakefield to a 13-10 victory against Huddersfield Giants but the former Airlie Bird couldn’t taste success for a second time as Harlequins ran riot with a 40-22 win on Saturday.

Sunday’s visit of his former club to the Merrie City gives Wildcats the chance to bounce straight back and Tony can’t wait to face his former employers.

“It was very good to return against Huddersfield,” he said.

“It was a long time coming and it was good to play at home and get a result but the game against Harlequins was very disappointing for everyone involved with the club so hopefully we’ll get a chance to right that wrong this weekend.

“You’ve got to give Harlequins a lot of credit because they played really well. It was opposite fortunes for both our teams because we played well the week before and they didn’t play so well so they were a lot hungrier than us and that’s why they go the result.”

He continued: “Hull have got quality players right across the park so we have to get it right or else it’ll be a long day at the office.

“They’ve got so many good players that it was only going to be a matter of time before they got it right and they’re getting it right now. I expect them to be challenging at the end of the year so we’ve got to be at the top of our game this weekend.

“The boys know what it takes to beat the Hull side but saying that, the Hull side are playing a lot better now than they were back then so we’ve got to lift our game because they’re coming here full of confidence.”

The Samoan-born former New Zealand Warrior insists Sunday’s meeting will add a bit of extra spice to the match thanks to his ties with the KC Stadium club, but that won’t change his approach to trying to help his current team-mates to a crucial two points.

“I play every game the same regardless of who we’re up against,” he said.

“It’s going to be a bit more special because I’m playing against a lot of my mates. I’m still friends with a lot of the people in the team and the staff so I’ll be looking forward to the game if I get selected.

“There’s not been much banter but I’m sure when we get closer to the game they’ll be some text messages.”

Tony has been short of match action with appearances in just seven Super League games since 2009 and five games for Whitehaven in 2010.

But he showed little signs of rust in a top-drawer performance against Huddersfield and is hoping he can feature regularly in the red, white and blue between now and the end of the season.

“I’ve had a funny last couple of years but that’s all behind me now, I’m expecting a good run in the team now,” he said.

“I’m happy with where I’m at at the moment but I know I can improve my game. As a professional player you’re never happy, there’s always room for improvement and there are a lot of areas I can improve on.”

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.