Super League: Wakefield Wildcats v Huddersfield Giants preview
Last Updated: 02/08/14 6:50pm
Wakefield Wildcats’ drive towards the Super League playoff places continues on Sunday as they welcome Huddersfield Giants to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
James Webster’s installation as Wakefield coach following the departure of Richard Agar sparked a resurgence in West Yorkshire, with the Wildcats chalking up five wins and a draw with just one loss on the Australian’s watch to date.
It is a remarkable run which has seen them defy reigning champions Wigan Warriors, 2013 Grand Finalists Warrington Wolves, as well as local rivals Leeds Rhinos. Now just two points separate the Wildcats from Widnes in the all-important eighth place with five rounds of action remaining.
Webster believes Wakefield are in need of four wins from their remaining five matches to make the knockout stages, but the visit of sixth-placed Huddersfield will provide a stern test for the Wildcats.
“We probably need to win four of our five remaining games to get into the playoffs; traditionally it has been 26 or 27 points that has got you close to making eighth spot,” he told Sky Sports.
“We’ve got Huddersfield this week and we travel away to St Helens yet so we have a couple of tough games but if we keep up the form we’ve shown over the last couple of weeks we definitely have a chance.”
Huddersfield also enter Round 23 on a high after registering back-to-back wins against Bradford Bulls and Catalan Dragons following defeats to Castleford Tigers and Salford Red Devils earlier in the month.
Despite their chequered run – winning just three of their last five matches – Giants coach Paul Anderson is still aiming high.
"There is everything to play for," Anderson said. "We want to be in that top four, we still want to finish top if that's possible.”
Ahead of the Giants’ trip to Wakefield Webster has made one enforced change with Matt Ryan ruled out of action.
The back rower underwent a shoulder reconstruction on Wednesday and in doing so ended his run as the only ever-present for Trinity in 2014. Ryan is replaced by 17-year old full-back Max Jowitt.
Meanwhile, Anderson makes two changes to the side which beat the Dragons last time out.
Leroy Cudjoe misses out following his late withdrawal at the weekend and is replaced by Aaron Murphy, while an injury to Kyle Wood sees Shaun Lunt make his comeback from an injury of his own.
Wakefield Wildcats: Mathers, Riley, Kirmond, Keinhorst, Sykes, Lauitiiti, Raleigh, McShane, Gilmour, Sammut, Washbrook, Jowitt, Owen, Moore, T Smith, Tautai, Lyne, Scruton, Wildie
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Bailey, Lawrence, Patrick, Ta’ai, Broughton, Kaufusi, Mullally, Connor, Leeming