RELEGATION RIVALS Bradford Bulls’ refusal to accept their six-point deduction is making life difficult for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, coach James Webster has admitted.
Bulls yesterday confirmed they will go to the High Court in their fight against the penalty imposed for entering administration, meaning more uncertainty in the battle against the drop out of First Utility Super League.
Eleventh-placed Wildcats are 10 points clear of Bulls, who occupy the second and final relegation place. At the moment they appear to be virtually safe, but were Bulls to win their legal action and have the six points reinstated, it would drop Wakefield back into danger.
Bulls’ appeal against the punishment was rejected by a sporting sanctions appeals panel earlier this month, but in a statement, Bulls said they have reviewed the panel’s judgement, taken advice from solicitors and a barrister and now intend to “pursue what are considered to be appropriate legal remedies”.
The statement added: “The decision to do so has not been made lightly and will be continually reviewed to ensure that any action taken is beneficial to the club, players, partners, supporters and the sport as a whole.
“We are conscious of the fact others may be affected by our decision and indeed any outcome to the process. Together with the club’s legal team, we shall endeavour to ensure matters are dealt with as efficiently as possible.”
And the statement went on: “We would not embark upon such an exercise without good reason and cause. We are not doing this just for us as a club, we are pursuing matters for the good of the wider game.”
But Webster reckons the latest development is damaging Wildcats’ prospects of recruiting players for next year.
Wildcats will go into Sunday’s home clash with Hull on the back of successive victories over bottom club London Broncos and defending champions Wigan Warriors and Webster said players have indicated they will be willing to move to Wakefield, once their Super League status is guaranteed.
“We have had plenty of nibbles for people, without catching anything,” he said. “But the phone has started to ring hot this week, in that we beat Wigan and I think everybody thought ‘they are pretty close now’.
“I don’t know what will happen about the High Court or what the RFL will decide to do about it.
“Can they let it run until two or three weeks before the end of the season, when everybody else has got themselves organised?”
Webster insisted Wildcats will focus on their own game, rather than worry about what Bradford are doing.
But commenting on their statement, he said: “How many times can you keep knocking at the door, when it keeps getting closed on you?
“It is not good news for us in that we are trying to recruit.
“We have got a couple of wins and people have been really keen to now start to talk to us as a club.
“It does not help us, but even if they got the points back we are still four points ahead of them with a far, far superior points difference.
“I don’t know how long the High Court will take, it might take a very long time to get in to be seen.
“I can’t control it so while I am disappointed to hear that news for the game, not just for Wakefield, I really can’t do anything about it.”