Quins RL go into tomorrow’s Millennium Magic game against Catalans Dragons on the back of some shaky results against Huddersfield and St Helens, with rumours of disquiet coming from the camp.
The St Helens game saw Paul Sykes, one of the sides most dependable players and a firm fans favourite inexplicably dropped, whilst Lee Hopkins a cornerstone of the Quins defence was briefly substituted for what appeared to be a petty form of disciplinary action after giving away a couple of penalties (one of which was wholly undeserved), prompting justifiable indignation from Hopkins.
The fans are beginning to lose patience with the signing of Richard Villasanti from Cronulla after the ex-Kangaroo forward has shown limited development towards a first team debut following knee surgery in the close season. The absence of the “Gorilla” is particularly sensitive because of current injury problems surrounding the Quins pack with props David Mills, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook missing and Daniel Heckenberg doubtful for Cardiff. When combined with the continued absence of the settling presence of loose forward Henry Paul the Quins forward line does begin to look somewhat vulnerable.
In the backs winger Matt Gafa may return from injury, with the desperately missed Sykes hopefully joining him at centre. Halves Scott Hill and Danny Orr will be looking for massive improvement on the second half showing against St Helens when the side looked disorganised and completely directionless.
Another major concern is the nomination of Warrington referee Phil Bentham, whose previous charges of Quins games this season have been controversially inconsistent to the extent that suspicions of anti-London parochialism have been raised amongst some fans.
The Dragons face their own injury problems with Grégory Mounis and Jamal Fakir both missing, whilst the injury to Dimitri Pelo against Leeds last weekend is offset by the return of Justin Murphy to the match squad. Catalans have won just one from four previous Super League meetings with the Quins and will be hoping to take advantage of their opponent’s current poor form to address that record.