WAKEFIELD Trinity coach Richard Agar admits the ability to call upon two of his most senior players will be crucial against Warrington Wolves tomorrow.
Club captain Steve Southern, in his first campaign since signing from Australian club Newcastle Knights, and ex-Leeds Rhinos star Ali Lauitiiti have both been missing injured since the Good Friday defeat against Castleford but are back in contention for the visit of last season’s minor premiers.
Wakefield have lost against Wigan, Leeds and St Helens during their absence, picking up just one win over Salford City Reds.
But the experienced forward duo have proved their fitness during the last fortnight – Trinity did not have a game last weekend due to the Challenge Cup – and Agar will make a final decision before today’s last practice session.
“Ali and Steve trained with us for the last two weeks and have come through with flying colours,” he said. “Ali is a player we have missed enormously and I think he’s a major influence on our side when he is on the field.
“He may be a quiet guy but he has shown a lot of leadership qualities for us this year and we are looking forward to getting him back on the pitch.
“Steve has had a fairly punctuated season with one or two things and it will be good for him to get back in and stake a claim. He’s feeling really fit and refreshed after his enforced absence.”
Wakefield, who agonisingly lost 32-30 at Warrington in March after referee Thierry Alibert awarded Wolves a try on the seventh tackle, have called up prop Paul Johnson after some fine performances for the club’s Under-20s side.
He could replace Matt James, who serves a one-match ban, while Warrington have Stefan Ratchford fit again for the first time since March but England prop Adrian Morley has again seen his comeback from injury delayed and is not included in Tony Smith’s 19-man squad.