Catalan chance for Wildcats to shine

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The Independent Online

John Kear summed it up after Wakefield's win over Castleford last Saturday in his first game in charge of the relegation-haunted Super League club. "Actions have consequences," he said - and those consequences include making today's task against the Catalan Dragons more difficult than it might otherwise have been.

Two highly-experienced Wildcats were sent off in circumstances which left the referee with little option - Monty Betham for a flurry of punches and Ned Catic for a head-butt. Not surprisingly, both have been suspended for what Kear called their "brain explosions", Betham for two matches and Catic for three. Neither has consistently lived up to the reputations they brought with them from the NRL, but they are seasoned forwards who will have to be replaced this evening.

Wigan's admirable victory at Leeds on Friday effectively cancelled out their two-point deduction for breaching the salary cap - another case of actions carrying consequences - and has left Wakefield two points behind their main rivals once more.

They have a good chance to put that right today, because the Catalans - immune from relegation - have nothing to play for apart from pride in avoiding the bottom spot in their first season.

The Wildcats, who have drafted Darrell Griffin and David Wrench into their squad, badly need something today, because their next three are against Leeds, St Helens and Bradford, before they meet Castleford again on the last day of the season.

Wigan's run-in is not easy, Huddersfield, Bradford, Harle-quins and Hull, but it is slightly more manageable, especially for a side starting to play with confidence.

Elsewhere today, two other clubs not technically safe are in action, with Castleford at home to St Helens and the Challenge Cup finalists, Huddersfield, hosting Hull.

Hull, who now have a wonderful chance of finishing second, have announced the signing of the Cronulla prop, Hutch Maiava, on a two-year contract starting next season.

The New Zealand-born front-rower has an elder brother named Starsky, because his parents were such keen fans of the TV show.

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