Kear keen to keep lid on celebrations
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are ready to party tomorrow but coach John Kear - for the sake of the visiting Crusaders RL - will not overdo the celebrations.
The Wildcats were expected to lose their place in Engage Super League on Tuesday, but were handed a surprise reprieve when Welsh club Crusaders withdrew their application for a place from 2012-14.
It was a development that shocked all in the sport - not least the Crusaders players, who were told only moments before the Rugby Football League awarded the next batch of three-year licences.
Most of those players now have no contracts beyond this year.
Kear therefore has two reasons to temper his jubilation when the teams meet at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium tomorrow, after the shock announcement that his own involvement with Wakefield will end after this season when his contract expires.
Kear said: “I do feel sorry for the players and coaching staff.
“People don’t realise they are messing with people’s livelihoods and the essence of their lifestyle.
“They won’t be able to pay mortgages or car purchases and it puts stress on the family.
“They will come here and want to play well out of professional pride and to put themselves in the shop window.
“You don’t want to rub their noses in it.
“But we have got to see it from our perspective as well.
“It has been a tough 18 months, ever since players started to be sold and budgets were cut.
“This is like a weight lifted from everyone’s shoulders - players, coaches and staff. It has alleviated a lot of fears and potential problems.
“We will enjoy it and I think we are entitled to, but we do have to have a bit of empathy and sympathy with fellow colleagues and professionals.”
Wakefield were given such little chance of survival in Super League that bookmakers would not take bets on the outcome of the licence announcement.
The club’s failure to significantly upgrade facilities at their ageing stadium or to relocate, as well as their recent spell in administration, were assumed to have counted against them.
“There was trepidation, fear, anxiety - but then everyone was stunned,” said Kear.
“Now we have started to come to terms with it we have realised there is a lot work to be done, not just for this year but years to come.
“It is a great opportunity for the club to really establish itself.”
Tomorrow’s game itself has little riding on it, aside from the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
Wakefield hold a four-point advantage over bottom side Crusaders with five games remaining. Both sides began the season with minus four points after going into administration.
Kear said: “There has been a spring in the players’ step at training this week and they have really enjoyed being at work.
“That’s obviously because they know where they are going.
“It is good to settle down and coach rugby league and for the players to play rugby league.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, title hopefuls Warrington Wolves and St Helens return to action after differing fortunes in the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
The Wolves were beaten by Wigan Warriors in a pulsating quarter-final last week but will move back within a point of the league-leading Warriors if they can overcome Bradford Bulls at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Adrian Morley, Lee Briers and David Solomona are all missing but coach Tony Smith expects his side to bounce back to form.
Smith said: “We’re pretty good. We were not pleased after the match last week but as soon as we got back to work, we got back to work.
“We took some stuff, good and bad, from last weekend and are looking forward to the next match and getting on with the rest of the season.”
Saints will play Wigan in the cup semi-finals next week after easing past Hull KR.
They will warm up for that eagerly-anticipated tie with a trip to another of the last four in Castleford Tigers.
Both sides will attempt to put cup thoughts to one side and Saints coach Royce Simmons said: “Already players have been talking about getting their orders in for (semi-final) tickets.
“When that starts happening your mind is not on playing this week. It’s a remedy for disaster.
“Whoever handles that situation best will win this game.
“Our mind is on keeping third spot at Castleford, not next week.
“In the past sides have put their second team in the week before a semi-final, but that won’t be happening.”