Jeffries rejoins as Wakefield ring the changes

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The Independent Online

It may be all change at Wakefield for next season, but there is still unfinished business at the club for this year. The Wildcats, who finish their league programme at home to Hull KR this afternoon, announced yesterday that Ben Jeffries is rejoining them from Bradford.

The Australian stand-off, who played for Wakefield from 2002 to 2007 before moving to the Bulls, has agreed a three-year contract to return.

"He is a very talented player, who has a wealth of Super League experience behind him and, at 28, his best years ahead," the Wakefield coach, John Kear, said.

Jeffries joins two other high-profile recruits from the Bulls in Terry Newton and Glenn Morrison, plus the Fijian World Cup centre Daryl Millard, in Wakefield colours next year.

On the other hand, a swathe of players is leaving, headed by Ryan Atkins, Brad Drew and Scott Grix.

The Wildcats are already assured of a home draw in the first round of the Super League play-offs next weekend, but today's match against Rovers will determine whether they can edge past Wigan and into fifth place.

Rovers have done even better and will be keen to hang on to third place. They are without Scott Murrell for the rest of the season with a broken hand, but have Stanley Gene and Rhys Lovegrove back at Belle Vue.

Gene, the talismanic Papua New Guinea international, will play some part after recovering from a fractured wrist, while Lovegrove is available again after a calf injury and the birth of his son last weekend.

Rovers' rivals for third place, Huddersfield, are at home to Wigan tomorrow and have not been themselves since Wembley started to loom. But they will play a Wigan side facing a degree of disruption after a number of weeks of enviable stability. Their hooker, Mark Riddell, has flown home to Australia because of a bereavement. Wigan hope to have him back for the play-offs, but in the meantime Michael McIlorum will deputise.

Wigan could also be without Sam Tomkins and George Carmont, who have a wrist and hamstring injury respectively.

Warrington and Harlequins have been preparing for tomorrow's meeting at the Halliwell Jones, hoping that other results will leave either of them with a chance of sneaking into the top eight.

Castleford, already assured of their position after finishing bottom last year, are at home to Celtic Crusaders, whose own traumatic first season has left them with the wooden spoon.