IF THEY win today, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will deserve to stay in First Utility Super League, prop Nick Scruton insists.
Wildcats face Bradford Bulls at the end of a tough season in which they finished bottom of the table and won only three of their 23 Super League fixtures, before losing four from seven in the Super-8s.
Under the new format introduced for 2015, the winners of today’s million pound match will take the final place in next year’s top-flight and Scruton reckons if Wakefield stay up, it will be on merit.
“That’s what the format’s there for,” said the former Leeds Rhinos and Bradford front-rower, who was Wildcats’ acting-captain during Danny Kirmond’s recent injury layoff.
“Everyone started on a clean slate, on zero points, so whoever stays up deserves to be there.
“I think it’ll come down to whoever turns up best on the day.
“The best team on the day will stay up and that’s how it should be.”
A Grand Final winner with Leeds Rhinos in 2008, Scruton described himself as “just as excited” about today’s game as he was his Old Trafford appearance.
“It will be a different feeling if we get the job done, which I am confident we can,” he predicted.
“I think it will be a feeling of relief, rather than the elation of winning a Grand Final – just the relief that we’re employed for another year!
“I think most people’s contracts – on the backroom staff and in the squad – are Super League only, so if we go down you will be struggling.
“We’re trying not to think about that at the minute.
“We just want to do our best to get the win and put the season to bed.”
Wildcats were 48-18 victors the last time the sides met, at Belle Vue in August and Scruton recalled: “We won that one quite easily and it’s nice to have that behind us, but I don’t think it will be anything like that now.
“I don’t think there’ll be a runaway score this time.
“I think it’ll be close, but I think we’ve got enough in our team to do it again.”
Wildcats have been in Super League since 1999 and had never finished bottom of the table before this year.
Chairman Michael Carter is confident the club can cope with relegation, but Scruton feels staying in the top flight is “massively important”.
He said: “Some clubs can go down and build back up like Bradford have, but I think we’d struggle, to be honest.
“It’s not a pleasant thought. The club has a proud history and it’s big for us to stay in Super League.
“That’s where we should be.”
Scruton joined Wildcats from Bradford early last season and admitted that has “added some spice and an extra sub-plot ” to this afternoon’s crunch showdown.
“Yes I have got mates there, but at the end of the day I have got a job to do and I need to do my best to keep Wakefield up,” he stated. “There will be no sentiment on the day, I’ll just be doing my best for Wakey.”