Sunday, 12 August 2007

Wakefield Vs Harlequins Preview

Harlequins RL go into tonight’s clash with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats knowing that winner will see themselves pushed back into the top six and closer to a coveted playoff spot.

In recent weeks the Quins bandwagon appears to have lost its way, suffering comprehensive defeats against Huddersfield and Leeds as a horrendous run of injuries has taken its toll on Brian McDermott’s already limited squad. The return of influential captain Rob Purdham last week wasn’t enough to halt a rampant Rhinos side, but fans will be hoping he can spark some inspiration against the Wildcats.

The news that wingers Rikki Sheriffe and Matt Gafa and forwards Karl Temata and Jon Grayshon have re-signed for next season has been welcomed by fans, but is tempered by the decision of warhorse second-row Lee Hopkins to retire at the end of the season. All five players have been important in shouldering the burden of the injury crisis.

Wakefield go into the game on the back of a defeat against Bradford, an early season run of form eventually turned patchy and when the two sides met at The Stoop back in April the result was a draw. Coach John Kear has rebuilt much of his side this season, converting the Wildcats from a side heavily reliant of imports to one that has made greater use of home grown players and has consequently seen them lift from a side that only beat the drop on the final game of last season to one challenging for the playoffs.

The game will be a big challenge for the Quins, but if they are to be serious challengers for the playoffs, and to prove to Chairman Ian Lenagan who has been linked to a bid for the Wigan Warriors that the club is moving forward, it’s one they need to win.

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