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Dragons v Wildcats: Teams
At Stade Gilbert Brutus, Saturday February 19, Kick-Off: 5.30pm
It's back to matters on the pitch for Wakefield Wildcats on Saturday as they travel to France to face Catalans Dragons after a tumultuous week off the field.
Wakefield have seen three players sold off after their financial problems forced them into administration, only then to emerge with new owners only on Thursday.
The RFL also docked the Wildcats four points for going into administration, and they will try and grab two of those back in France on Saturday.
Coach John Kear is glad to be taking his men out of the spotlight and over to Perpignan to face the Dragons, but after surviving an almighty fight behind the scenes he knows his men face every bit as much of a scrap on it.
"We've spoken about that," Kear said. "It will be great to get in the cocoon, that bubble, fly over to France and then we won't be pestered.
"We'll get our sleeves rolled up and address the issue at hand which is a match against a very physical, big and strong Catalan side."
Kear takes his depleted side to France without any of his new signings, with Josh Griffin, Greg Johnson and Kyle Amor all unable to be registered in time to travel to Perpignan.
Huddersfield duo Johnson and Griffin and Leeds loanee Amor may not be involved, but Kear will be relieved to have centre Aaron Murphy available after he had his two-match ban overturned.
Murphy was banned for a dangerous throw, lift and drop in the game against Castleford Tigers last week, but his offence was lowered from a Grade C to Grade A after his appeal and his suspension was overturned.
Even when his new trio are cleared to play, Kear will still give his loyal group the chance to keep their places after going through so many turbulent times o ff the field.
"The lads who have been here and suffered the trials and tribulations deserve the first stab at it," he said. "So they've got the shirt and it's up to them to keep the shirt.
"They showed spirit and heart and desire to play for the red, white and blue of Wakefield and I would hope they will step up now."
Catalans coach Trent Robinson is taking nothing for granted despite Wakefield suffering so much over the last week, and he is wary of an angry response from the Wildcats.
"I think Wakefield are built on this sort of stuff," said Robinson. "John Kear is the perfect coach for this kind of situation. They come out fighting each time and I'm expecting a really tough game. It will be pretty physical I'd imagine."
Daryl Millard was one of the players shipped out from Wakefield, but he will not face his former side as his Catalans debut will be delayed in order for him to settle into his new surroundings.
Clint Greenshields is being rested meaning Robinson will switch Ben Farrar from centre to full-back as he looks for a marked improvement of their opening 11-4 defeat by Harlequins in Cardiff.
Six debutants started for Catalans at the Millennium Stadium, and Robinson hopes an extra week will help them settle down this time around.
"We've had to change a lot of things in training and now we've got to change them on the field," he said. "We need to keep improving each week and hopefully we'll be a bit better this week."
Catalans: Blanch, Farrar, Sa, Stacul, Dureau, Ferriol, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Raguin, Mounis, Gigot, Baile, Gossard, Simon, Fakir, Paea, Baitieri, Pelissier.
Wakefield: Penny, Murphy, George, Korkidas, Rinaldi, King, Henderson, Morrison, Lee, Johnson, Dean, Gledhill, Mariano, Howarth, Veivers, Davey, Wildie, Hyde, Spiers.
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