Wakefield Wildcats: Agar to hold talks with injured Ali about his future

Wakefield Wildcats' Ali Lauitiiti.
Wakefield Wildcats' Ali Lauitiiti.
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GRAND FINAL winner Ali Lauitiiti will be asked if he plans to play on for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats next year.

Lauitiiti – who won five Super League titles with Leeds Rhinos – is on Wildcats’ long-term casualty list after suffering a knee injury against his old club last month.

With the 34-year-old facing a 16-week lay-off Agar said it will be “touch and go” if Lauitiiti plays again this season and the team boss added: “We are probably going to talk to Ali about his desire beyond this season as well – if he is planning on playing again next year.

“If he is we can certainly look at doing everything possible to get him back. Managing Ali from a physical point of view is going to be a big challenge to him mentally and physically, so after his four months he’s ready to go. For such a big guy that’s a long time to be out.”

Agar said talks will take place soon and he has had no indication of Lauitiiti’s thinking.

Meanwhile, Agar – whose side visit Hull tomorrow – is looking to strengthen his squad with the addition of another three-quarter.

“Lucas Walshaw played very well for us at Huddersfield and he will keep his spot in the squad this week,” Agar said. “But I have felt all season if we did pick up a knock or an injury in the backs or anybody was out of form we would be a little bit light. I still think that’s the case. We are tossing one or two names around and making one or two inquiries, but I think it is very much going to boil down to finance.”

The experiment of playing Jarrod Sammut at full-back, Paul Sykes and Harry Siejka in the half-back spots and Pita Godinet as back-up hooker off the bench is set to continue tomorrow. Agar said: “We feel Paul McShane is a much better player when he plays in shorter spells and I also think Godinet has done a terrific job for us playing out of dummy-half and it’s probably a role he prefers as well.

“We will stick with that at the moment, but we have been looking at different balances and different make-ups. The message we are giving to our pivotal players is that the shirts are there and up for grabs. At the moment we don’t feel anybody has got a stranglehold on one of the shirts.

“We are waiting for them to come and give the answers to us. It has been difficult with the run of games we’ve had, we’ve not had massive periods of sustained pressure and football to see what the productivity’s like at the other end of the field, but we do feel in blocks and part of our game we have seen some improvements.

“We will stick with it. It is probably a bit of a symptom of not having too much time together pre-season and not having too many trial games and guys arriving late. We think having a bit of patience and giving those combinations time to work will help us in the long-run.”

Siejka has been at the club more than a month following his late arrival from Australia and Agar reckons the rookie half-back is beginning to find his feet.

He said: “For a half-back to come in three or four weeks into the season and then wait for his chance, it is no surprise it is going to take him a bit of time.

“I think he has shown blocks and parts of his game. He kicks the ball really well, he has shown a real desire to get us moving with the football at times, but I still don’t think he’s quite up to game speed. Hopefully the last two weeks will have moved him a bit further forward and I don’t think he’s too far off.”

Wildcats will travel to Hull looking to end a six-game losing run. Agar said: “It’s a tough one. We have been in a tough trot, but we are coming into a period over the next six or seven weeks where we think we have a good opportunity to pick some points up.”

New loan signing Jacob Fairbank is set to make his Wildcats debut tomorrow, Danny Kirmond could return from injury and Chris Annakin and teenager Max Jowitt are also in contention, with Peter Fox and wrist injury victim Andy Raleigh out from the side which lost at Huddersfield on Easter Monday.

Hull from: Bowden, Carvell, Crooks, Crookes, Ellis, Hadley, Heremaia, Houghton, Miller, Paea, Paleaaesina, Rankin, Shaul, Talanoa, Thompson, Tuson, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.

Wakefield from: Mathers, Sykes, Godinet, Anderson, McShane, Kirmond, Washbrook, Ryan, Moore, Sammut, Annakin, Walshaw, Smith, Jowitt, Molloy, Siejka, Scruton, Riley, Fairbank.

Referee: Tim Roby (Preston).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.

Danny Kirmond.

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