Mark Applegarth discusses Wakefield Trinity quota situation after being left with too many overseas players

Mark Applegarth was coy about Wakefield Trinity's quota situation after the signing of David Fifita left the club with too many overseas players.

The popular prop rejoined Trinity this week after answering an SOS from the Super League strugglers.

Wakefield have not won a game since Fifita ended his seven-year stay at Belle Vue at the end of last season.

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Under Rugby Football League regulations, each Super League club can have seven overseas players in their squad at any one time.

With Jorge Taufua, Mason Lino, Jai Whitbread, Kelepi Tanginoa, Renouf Atoni, Kevin Proctor and Samisoni Langi already at Belle Vue, the club must deregister a current overseas player to squeeze Fifita in.

Tanginoa, Atoni and Langi are facing lengthy spells on the sidelines, while Whitbread is also injured.

"We've got some long-term injuries there," said Applegarth when asked which player would be deregistered.

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"I've just been focusing on the playing side of it and the off-field staff have been taking care of that.

David Fifita rejoined Wakefield Trinity this week. (Photo: John Clifton/ Fifita rejoined Wakefield Trinity this week. (Photo: John Clifton/
David Fifita rejoined Wakefield Trinity this week. (Photo: John Clifton/

"Four of our quota players are currently out injured so there will be some movement there. I'm sure when we're ready to announce it, the club will announce it.

"The relevant people have been speaking to the RFL to get that sorted. I'm just glad it's sorted and Dave can play on Sunday."

While Applegarth is hopeful of getting Whitbread back after the break for the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, Langi and Atoni may not return until late July and Tanginoa is facing up to 12 weeks on the sidelines with a broken arm.

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The Trinity boss admits he has yet to consider a scenario where all eight overseas players are fit and available.

"I hope there is," he said.

"There hasn't been a week yet where we have had that situation. It would be a nice headache to have.

"When you're bottom of the league, you worry about the here and now. We've got 14 games to try and survive and that's what we're focusing on.

"If we end up in that situation, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. There's no hiding away from the fact that we need some quality bodies on the field and Dave Fifita is a quality body."

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Fifita has left his family behind in Australia to help keep Trinity in Super League.

The 33-year-old’s selfless act provides a major boost as winless Wakefield aim to make it 14th time lucky against Leigh Leopards at Magic Weekend.

"Everyone is going to have to make a sacrifice to a certain extent,” said Applegarth. "I’m just glad Dave’s made himself available to come and help the cause.

"Some of the characters we lost last year have been tough to replace, especially when you’re recruiting in a market that hasn’t got the depth it’s maybe had in previous years.

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"I don’t want to put too much pressure on him too soon but a fit and able Dave Fifita can be an unplayable player in Super League.”

Fifita was one of five additions to Applegarth’s squad on a busy Wednesday for Super League’s basement club.

Wakefield re-signed Huddersfield Giants second-rower Sam Hewitt on an initial two-week loan and Isaac Shaw on a deal until the end of the season, while former Catalans Dragons duo Romain Franco and Hugo Salabio joined on 28-day trials.

Trinity have signed a dozen players in recent months, which Applegarth believes underlines their determination to stay in Super League.

"We’re doing everything we can,” he said.

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"We haven’t given up the fight yet. I know a lot of people regard us as down and out but we’ll be fighting right to the death.

"The players have still got that fighting spirit in them. They’re as disappointed as anyone that we haven’t got that first win yet.

"The cold hard facts are that we’ve got a lot of improvement in us still. My job is to make sure we unlock that improvement and start getting those wins to put pressure on the teams around us.”

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