40 hours ago - 3 Likes
Preview: Wakefield v Wigan (R22)
New Zealand international David Solomona insists Wakefield can string together enough wins to avoid the drop, starting with the visit of engage Super League champions Bradford to Belle Vue.
Six defeats from their last seven matches, coupled with Wigan?s run of five straight wins, have left the Wildcats deep in trouble and without a coach following the departure this week of Tony Smith.
With Smith?s successor unlikely to be appointed until next week, the club?s chief executive Steve Ferres has picked the team for the game and Solomona insists the players are determined to do their bit for the cause.
"If the players wanted an excuse to lose this week, then they?ve got one, but no one is looking for excuses this week," said Solomona. "The players are more focused than ever."
Wakefield, promoted to Super League in 1998, have seven matches left to preserve their top-flight status and Solomona accepts that the stakes are high.
"Players are playing for their livelihood but that?s life, that?s football over here in England," he said.
"If you?re not playing well enough, your team is going to get relegated. We don?t want that to happen to Wakefield. There are still seven games to go and 14 points up for grabs.
"If we win this week, we?re one point away from a lot of teams. There is almost a quarter of the season to go and people are talking about relegation.
"A lot of people are looking at the draw and the run we?ve got. We?re not hiding away from the fact that we?ve got some tough games but we have beaten those teams in the past.
"Leeds found last weekend that, if you think going to get an easy game against one of the bottom teams, you?re going to lose."
Bradford, who won 20-14 at Belle Vue in the opening match of the season back in February, need a win to keep alive their hopes of a top-three finish and coach Steve McNamara is wary of the opposition.
"It is a dangerous game for us," said McNamara. "I think they have got some outstanding individuals in the side and some really, really good offensive plays. When they click, they are a difficult side to handle.
"The results haven?t really gone their way lately but, particularly with what has happened to them this week, with their coach leaving, we are certainly viewing them as a very dangerous side to play against."
The champions are without centre Ben Harris (hamstring) and full-back Mick Withers (groin) but have winger Marcus Bai and second rower Matt Cook back after lengthy injury absences.
Wakefield are set to give a debut to Australian centre James Evans, who has joined them on loan from Huddersfield, but omitted their other recent signing, French scrum-half Maxime Greseque, from their 18-man squad.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Bradford Bulls, Friday July 21 2006
Wakefield 18-man squad: Halpenny, Demetriou, Tadulala, Jeffries, Obst , Griffin, March, Korkidas, Solomona, J Field, Betham, Rooney, MacGillivray, Elima, Catic, Atkins, Watene, Evans.
Bradford 18-man squad: Vainikolo, Smith, Meyers, Cook, I. Harris, Bai, Pryce, St Hilaire, Burgess, Newton, Ferres, Deacon, Vagana, Langley, Hape, McKenna, Lynch, Henderson.
Referee: P Bentham