John Kear admits that while he would like to see former club Castleford win Super League if his current employers can’t, he would love nothing more than to “give them a good hiding” on Thursday to keep Wakefield’s own hopes of silverware well and truly alive.
Trinity and the Tigers meet in a mouthwatering Thursday night clash this evening, with Wakefield looking to draw level with second-placed Salford with a victory.
And Kear, who grew up down the road in Castleford and played for the Tigers during his own career, says Wakefield’s local rivals are providing an ideal template for Trinity to try and emulate.
“There is,” Kear said when asked if he’d like to see Cas win the competition if Wakefield couldn’t.
“I’ve got great admiration for what (chief executive) Steve Gill has done first of all, because they’re financially stable.
“But what Daryl Powell has done has been fantastic; he took over them when they were bottom of the league and season upon season, they’ve evolved and they’ve got better and this season has been the result of his hard work.
“I feel we’re progressing in a similar manner and perhaps we’re a season behind them – but they’re a template to follow. I’ve got personal admiration for them but I’d love to give them a good hiding tomorrow.”
Wakefield are aiming to inflict only a fourth league defeat of 2017 on Castleford tonight – and Kear admits their local rivals have been the “benchmark” for the rest to follow this year.
He said: “We’re playing what everyone would accept as the benchmark for Super League in 2017. Castleford have been really good this season but we feel that we’re not that far away. It’s a great measure for us to see how far we’ve progressed. We remember the Castleford game when they gave us a touch-up in the first half and that will be mentioned to the players.
“Motivation won’t be an issue, especially form our side. The players know it’s a special game; they’re playing the league leaders and the benchmark for the league. We might have to take a bit of the emotion out of it so we can be efficient in going through the processes.”
And Kear insists Wakefield do have the capabilities to beat the Tigers.
He said: “We’ve been good at home and Castleford on their travels haven’t been as good as Castleford at The Jungle. At this level of rugby league it’s small margins and we’ve got to make sure they go in our favour. Every team has got some weaknesses somewhere and we feel as if we’ve been smart enough to identify some weaknesses.”