IT HAS been a difficult week for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, but centre Joe Arundel insists tonight’s trip to St Helens is far from a lost cause.
Stuart Dickens will be in charge of the team following Brian Smith’s shock resignation as coach on Tuesday, two days after a 42-28 home defeat by Catalans Dragons.
Third-bottom Wildcats face a huge challenge against an improving Saints outfit who ended Castleford Tigers’ unbeaten record a week ago, but Arundel reckons they have a fighting chance if they can start well.
Wildcats trailed 26-0 after 27 minutes against Catalans last Sunday and were 24-6 behind at half-time of their previous game away to Warrington Wolves and Arundel admitted they must correct that tonight.
“I am not sure why it keeps happening, but you can’t give teams a start like that,” the former Castleford man said.
“We can’t allow teams to get a head start, no matter who it is. If you give teams the ball, you are going to struggle against anyone.”
But Arundel said Wildcats’ fightback in each of their last two games – which followed a win at Hull KR – gives them belief they can match Saints if they get the basics right, despite this week’s upheaval.
“We can take confidence from a few patches in last week’s game,” he insisted.
“There were some areas where we were very soft and we conceded too many soft tries, but when we had the ball and we got a roll on Catalans struggled with us.
“It was same against Warrington. They are the things we need, as a team, to put right and take to St Helens.
“Saints have hit a bit of form, but it should be a good game. Hopefully we can respond well and give it a good crack.”
Chairman Michael Carter is hoping to appoint as new coach as quickly as possible and Arundel believes it is only a matter of time before Wakefield begin to beat the top teams.
“The plan is to get better and better each week and hopefully start to hit a decent bit of form and pick some points up over the next few weeks,” he said.
“We want to start to climb the table and, hopefully, we can do that. We just need to put little things right.
“It’s nothing major, just little things. We are still getting used to each other, we’ve got a new half-back combination, but things are starting to click and we will see how it goes.”
Dickens will select for tonight from the 17 on duty last Sunday, plus Jason Walton and Anthony Walker.
Saints are without Theo Fages from the team which beat Castleford. Joe Greenwood, Morgan Knowles and Jack Ashworth are vying for a call-up.
St Helens from: McDonnell, Makinson, Peyroux, Dawson, Swift, Turner, Walsh, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Vea, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Tasi, Richards, Thompson, Greenwood, Knowles, Ashworth.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats from: Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Hall, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Howarth, England, Molloy, Ashurst, Simon, A Tupou, Arona, Sio, Anderson, Walton, Walker.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.