WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats’ Lee Smith insists seeing three of his colleagues suspended by the club ahead of tonight’s “must-win” match has not affected his own preparations for the vital tie.
Trinity host Halifax in a crucial Qualifiers game with Tim Smith, Kevin Locke and Reece Lyne left out of their squad.
Australian scrum-half Tim Smith was earlier this week charged with failing to provide a sample for analysis and driving without due care and attention after an incident in Hull.
Kiwi full-back Locke and centre Lyne are also believed to have been involved.
Former Melbourne Storm prop Scott Anderson, meanwhile, is thought to have been dropped for a separate incident, too.
Wakefield, who finished bottom of Super League, are battling for their safety and desperately need victory to stay in contention for the ‘Million-Pound Game’ that sees fourth versus fifth for a place in the elite next season.
Trinity, who round off at Sheffield a week tomorrow, have won just two of their five games and were embarrassed 46-4 at home to Widnes Vikings a week ago ahead of this week’s revelations.
However, Lee Smith, who switches from the wing to replace Locke, insisted: “It’s not been a distraction to me.
“I don’t know about the other lads. Everyone deals with these situations differently.
“It doesn’t affect us really. We’ve just got to do what we’ve got to do. There was no guarantee those players would be playing any way from last week.
“All you do is find out where you’re playing and crack on and, hopefully, do a job. It’s a must-win game as we’re in a position where it’s out of our control to finish third. All we can do is win and concentrate on ourselves.”
Championship part-timers Halifax lost all four of their opening Qualifiers games but earned their first win with a shock 34-12 defeat of Leigh Centurions, the side that easily topped their division, last Sunday.
“I didn’t expect that,” admitted Smith. “Full credit to them; they got stuck into Leigh and came away with a victory.
“As mad as it is, I think they can still make the four or five.
“So, they’ve got everything to play for. They’ll come here with no pressure on them at all.
“They will have a dig, try to rattle us a little bit, bring the game to us – but we’ll be ready for them.”
Smith, 29, hopes to sign a new deal for 2016 but admitted: “It’s hard to look any further than Saturday. If we get beat, there will be no contract at all; it’s all our eggs in one basket this weekend.”