Wakefield Trinity coach Willie Poching unconcerned after Leeds Rhinos' Zane Tetevano cleared to play in big Super League derby

The fact Leeds Rhinos’ Zane Tetevano can play today after being suspended is “strange”, Wakefield Trinity interim-coach Willie Poching reckons - but not something he is concerned about.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 29th August 2021, 4:45 pm
Trinity interim-coach Willie Poching. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Trinity interim-coach Willie Poching. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Tetevano received a three-game penalty notice after being charged by the RFL’s match review panel with a grade C reckless high tackle in Leeds’ win at Wigan Warriors five days ago.

But, to allow for possible appeals, bans following incidents in Betfred Super League round 21 will not begin until Magic Weekend on September 4/5.

That means the New Zealand and Cook Islands forward is available for this afternoon’s derby against Wakefield, but will then miss Rhinos’ final three matches of the regular season.

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“I find it a little bit strange, but that’s the way it has been ruled and he is able to play against us,” Poching said.

“No matter how much I shout about it, it’s not going to make a difference so I’ve not thought too much about it.

“He’s just someone we have got to account for, he is going to play and he’s an influential and dangerous player for them.

“We’ve got to do our job and account for him, rather than kick and scream about what could, should or maybe.”

Today is the sides’ third meeting this year, after Leeds won by six points in March and through a controversial extra-time penalty two months later, both at Emerald Headingley.

Poching, a Grand Final winner with Leeds in 2004 and later assistant-coach there, vowed: “There’s no paybacks, we are just trying to do what we can.

“We are in a different frame of mind now and trying to hold on to some of the form and confidence we have.

“What has been and done is gone, we can’t look back and think about anything along the revenge lines.

“It’s just about going out and doing the best we can with the side we roll out.”

Trinity have won two of their three games since Poching took over from Chris Chester earlier this month, both against clubs where he has spent time as an assistant-coach.

Beating Leeds would complete a hat-trick, but Poching - who has admitted he is “auditioning” for the role on a long-term basis - is expecting a tough encounter.

“I thought they were very good against Wigan,” he observed. “I thought they defended stoutly and had a real tenacity and aggression about them.

“The young fellas they’ve got are playing with confidence and they’re being led well by Matt Prior up front.

“They have got dangers across the park and they are fighting for something, a place in the top-six. They will be desperate and hungry.”

Trinity have had one day’s less rest and recovery than Rhinos, having played at Hull KR last Thursday.

Poching reported his players “trained really well and energetically” at yesterday’s captain’s run.

“It’s just a case of recovering and patching up some of them and rolling them out again,” he admitted. “Such is the difficulty of these weekends.

“There will be periods of the game when both teams’ energy will be down a bit. Hopefully that won’t reflect on the quality of the game and both teams are able to go out and give a good account of themselves.”

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