NEW BOSS James Webster says all the credit for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ revival has to go to the players.
Webster took charge a month ago – after Richard Agar resigned – and has overseen a three-game unbeaten run, including wins over London Broncos and Wigan Warriors and last Friday’s draw with Hull.
Wildcats face another huge challenge tonight at home to Leeds Rhinos, who beat them 102-12 on aggregate three months ago when the sides met twice in six days.
“It’s the boys,” Webster said of the reason behind Wakefield’s improved form over the past three games. “Having Tim Smith and Taulima Tautai back, in the side has massively helped us, but the boys have bought into a belief that they get a good job done when they are committed as a team. The coach can preach as much as he wants, but if they are not willing to go out there and do it, it is not going to happen. What they have done the last three weeks, they have done themselves – they are the ones putting their bodies on the line.”
Assessing Wildcats’ efforts since he took over, Webster said: “We are in decent form, in that we have been able to put some decent, committed performances together.
“We are struggling a bit bodies-wise on the back of a short turnaround, which has been a problem for us, but we have addressed that and we’ll be trying to turn up with the same attitude and commitment we’ve had for the last three weeks.”
Tonight will be a huge test of how far Wakefield have come. Leeds won 60-6 when the sides met at Rapid Solicitors Stadium in April and were 42-6 victors in a league clash at Headingley Carnegie the following weekend.
“Our mentality is we are going out to win the game,” Webster stressed. “We go into every game thinking we can win and why shouldn’t we? It is not lost on us that the last two times we played Leeds we were well and truly put to the sword.
“But some things have changed since then and we have got the belief that if we turn up with our best game we have got a chance of winning.
“We are also realistic enough to realise that if we don’t turn up really committed and play to our maximum potential there’s a chance it won’t be a great result for us.”
Centre Jimmy Keinhorst, who is on a season-long loan from Leeds, is in tonight’s squad and could make only his third appearance for Wildcats. He has been struggling with a hamstring injury, but Webster said: “He has a decent chance. He is fit, which is fantastic. Sooner or later we have to see him play.”