Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Improving Cats ready to go to war - Washbrook

Danny Washbrook
Danny Washbrook
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Wakefield Trinity Wildcats back-row Danny Washbrook says coach Brian Smith has told them the Super League basement boys are going to war in every game.

Their next battleground is in Perpignan this evening where Catalans Dragons have lost just one of their 11 games so far at Stade Gilbert Brutus, against Leeds Rhinos in March.

Rock-bottom Trinity, therefore, know just how tough it will be to arrest a 15-match losing sequence in the competition.

However, there was clear signs of progress in Sunday’s 24-16 defeat to Salford Red Devils, the first game since astute Australian Smith took charge, especially in terms of their defensive fortitude.

Washbrook said: “He’s done a lot of work on us sticking in the tackle. He is big on that and the contest; every play is a contest to Brian.

“He uses a phrase about the pitch behind us being our land and they – the opponents – are trying to take it off us. You have to do all that you can to stop that.

“He is big on it and we did defend better but he’s worked on more things this week, too, to try help us where he can.”

However, Catalans have beaten St Helens, Wigan Warriors and, a week ago, in-form Hull FC in a run of five wins from six outings.

Washbrook, 29, said: “They are a very good team with a lot of good skills in there.

“They are a big, physical team, very good at home and it will be difficult.

“Elliott Whitehead and Zeb Taia are two of the best not just back-rows but players in Super League.

“Both are big, strong boys and very skilful who bring a lot to their team so it will be an interesting battle for myself – if I’m one of those in the back-row – and the rest.

“It’s going to be a good challenge for us all but we’ve been there plenty of times before and showed we can match teams. It’s just doing it for a full game.”

Smith is without forward Dan Smith (rib) and hooker Stuart Howarth (wrist) after they were injured versus Salford and there is a major doubt over captain Danny Kirmond, who has a shoulder problem.

But three-quarters Reece Lyne and Richie Owen are both set to return from injury and Washbrook – who is linked with a move back to hometown club Hull FC in 2016 – added: “He’ll pick the team that he thinks can do the job.

“He said he wants players who will go out there and give their all and not hold anything back.

“We’ll go do the best we can and try get that win.

“We did a lot better than in previous week against Salford and it was an improvement which is what Brian wants from us – improvement every week.

“That’s the aim again come Saturday. If we could have scored near the end last week we’d have had Salford rattled.

“But, to be fair to them, every chance they had they took down our end and we have got to learn from that too when we’re in France.”

Wakefield will have Owen and Lyne back from injury but hooker Stuart Howarth and loose forward Dan Smith are missing after being hurt in the defeat by Salford.

Catalans will give a debut to centre Krisnan Inu while prop Jeff Lima returns after completing a four-match suspension.