IN-COMING boss Brian Smith won’t be coaching Wakefield Trinty Wildcats against Leeds Rhinos this weekend, but centre Reece Lyne reckons he will still have an influence.
Smith was due to arrive in England today and will be at Sunday’s Belle Vue derby, though caretaker-coach Stuart Dickens will be in charge of the team.
The 61-year-old Australian officially begins work on Monday morning and Lyne said the players on duty against Leeds Rhinos will be determined to catch his eye.
“We are back at home, with a new coach and a first chance to impress him so there should be no excuses,” said Lyne, who is a doubt for the game due to a hamstring problem.
“We know he’ll be watching so everyone who has got that shirt has first chance to impress.
“I suppose that adds an extra bit of pressure to go out and do well.”
Wildcats are on a 13-game losing run in First Utility Super League and – despite the new coach coming in – Lyne insisted the players are the ones who will determine what happens for the rest of the season.
“I just think we need to improve ourselves,” he stressed.
“Obviously Webbo (former boss James Webster) is a great coach and we let him down.
“We got Stu (Dickens, Wildcats’ caretaker coach) in and then Brian and it’s down to us as players to produce a performance on the pitch.”
There were signs of that in the first half against Castleford Tigers last week, when Wildcats hit back from 16-0 down to trail only 22-16 at the break.
They fell away in the final 40 to lose 56-16 and Lyne reflected: “We gave easy points away early on, but we got into the grind of game and found ourselves just four behind.
“We had a foothold in that game, but unforced errors cost us.
“We are moving in right direction, but at this level you have to do it for 80 minutes.
“We are not keeping the intensity up for the full 80 and letting ourselves down.”
Leeds are also in a slump, having won just one of their last five league matches, but Lyne said Rhinos’ form is irrelevant.
“It is an exciting challenge,” he said.
“It’s a local derby and they are sitting at the top of the league so we know it’s going to be another tough one, but there’s no excuse not to get up for this game. “Leeds are a top team and they have got strike all over the pitch, but we’re not really worried about them, we are worried about our own game and putting our own performance in.”
Wildcats forward Kyle Trout has joined Hunslet Hawks on loan until the end of the season.
Dickens said prop Scott Anderson will miss Sunday’s game due to concussion and Lyne and half-back Jacob Miller (knee) both face a late fitness test.
Utility-back Jarrod Sammut, who has not featured in recent weeks, has been ruled out after sustaining a calf injury in training.