Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity: Willie Poching expecting rivals to produce response after opening-round defeats

WAKEFIELD TRINITY coach Willie Poching is warning of a backlash in France today, but says Catalans Dragons can expect the same from his men.

Both teams got off to a losing start in Betfred Super League last weekend, Catalans going down 28-8 at St Helens and Trinity losing their opening game 16-12 against visitors Hull.

Dragons were league leaders in 2021 and Poching reckons they will be “hurting” from the result of their Grand Final rematch in round one.

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But he stressed: “We have got our own things we want to fix up.”

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 25/01/2022 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Wakefield Media Day 2022 - Belle Vue, Wakefield, England - Jai Whitbread.

Poching said: “While I was really pleased with the effort – and the players were proud of their efforts for each other – there’s still some things we need to do better.”

Poching will be forced into a series of changes following what he described as a “slug-fest” last week.

He said: “It was a heavy pitch so this week has been about recovery and getting ready to go over to France and, hopefully, get on a faster pitch and play against a team who will be hurting after their first-round loss.

“They will want to bounce back.

Response: Wakefield Trinity coach Willie Poching. Picture: Tony Johnson

“It was a physical game against St Helens, full of passion and emotion.

“They have lost a couple of players, but they’ve got a good squad and a deep squad throughout.”

Trinity are travelling to and from France today and Poching said: “I prefer doing that and I think the players are comfortable with it now. They have done it for a little while.

“It is more convenient and, in some respects, it’s probably easier than driving to some away games.”

Reece Lyne is beginning a three-game ban and Trinity are without Lee Gaskell because of an elbow injury.

Jacob Miller (injured in training) David Fifita (leg and thumb injuries) and Kelepi Tanginoa (dropped) are also missing from the team on duty against Hull, but Jai Whitbread is set to make his debut and Mason Lino could feature for the first time this year.

Others in contention for a call into the 17 are Brad Walker, Yusuf Aydin, Sid Adebiyi, Harry Bowes, Sam Eseh, Lewis Murphy and Isaac Shaw.

Catalans are without Dylan Napa and Gil Dudson who are both suspended. Julian Bousquet and Arthur Mourgue will miss the game through injury but Arthur Romano, Benjamin Jullien and Paul Seguier have been named in the squad.