INCOMING DIRECTOR of rugby John Kear is relishing being back at Belle Vue tonight – in an unfamiliar guise.
Kear is set to rejoin Wakefield from Batley Bulldogs next month in a newly-created role, five years after the end of his spell as Trinity coach.
More immediately, Kear is aiming to mastermind Wales’ qualification for next year’s World Cup and he will be in charge tonight when they face Jamaica in a warm-up game (7.30pm).
Wales began their qualification campaign with an impressive 50-0 win over Serbia last Saturday.
Tonight’s international is a chance to fine-turn preparations ahead of a crucial meeting with Italy in Monza a week tomorrow.
“I’m looking forward to it for a number of reasons,” said Kear, who has not coached in a game at Belle Vue since leaving Wakefield in 2011.
“We see it as a really valuable part of our preparation for the Italy game, it is a full international fixture in it’s own right and it’s being played at Wakefield.
“I am excited and looking forward to it.
“Hopefully our team can produce a really good performance for all those reasons.”
The game is being staged at Wakefield as a venue in Wales could not be booked at short-notice.
Kear is looking for his team to build on last weekend’s performance.
He added: “I was delighted.
“If you beat anybody 50-0 you’ve got to be happy.
“It shows you are in rude health in every department of the game – attacking-wise, kicking game and defensively.
“I thought the team were very respectful of the opposition and the occasion and that led to such a good performance.”
Jamaica are managed by Glenn Morrison who played at Wakefield under Kear and was his assistant-coach for a spell.
Tonight is the Reggae Warriors’ first full international in England and their squad has been drawn from the Kingstone Press Championship and League One, including three players coached by Kear at Batley this year.
“They have got some good players,” warned the Wales boss. “Joel Farrell always caused us problems when he played for Dewsbury against Batley.
“Wayne Reittie and Alex Brown are accomplished players and I coached Richie Barnett at Hull.
“They are looking to improve their ranking in the international standings and establish themselves as an international team, so they have a lot of reasons to play well.”
Kear is hopeful that a healthy crowd will turn out for tonight’s historic showdown.
“I’m sure the people of Yorkshire will support the match,” he said. “People in the area are very knowledgable about their rugby league.
“You have the Four Nations but, at this time of the year, there aren’t many venues in Yorkshire being used, so it’s an opportunity for people to come and watch some international rugby league.”