Trinity's player exodus continues

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The Independent Online

The drain of playing talent from Wakefield Trinity has continued with Steve McNamara leaving to join Huddersfield on a two-year deal.

The drain of playing talent from Wakefield Trinity has continued with Steve McNamara leaving to join Huddersfield on a two-year deal.

The Test forward is one of those cut adrift by Trinity as they try to convince a meeting of Super League clubs next week that they can survive in the division next season.

McNamara was one of Wakefield's high-profile signings for this season, but now, along with Steve Prescott, who is joining Hull, and Francis Maloney and Warren Jowitt, who have both gone to Salford, he is in the first lifeboat away from Belle Vue.

For the final game of a profoundly troubled season, at Castleford this evening, Trinity's stand-in coach, John Harbin, is also without his two Samoans, Willie Poching and Tony Tatupu. Poching, a tower of strength amid the club's struggles, has a knee injury and Tatupu has gone home to see his family before playing for Samoa in the World Cup.

Harbin brings in two players from the Academy team, Keith Mason and Paul Handforth, for only their second appearance.

"I haven't had any selection problems. I only had 17 players," he said. "But I've told the guys that if they show the same effort as against Warrington last week, they will be able to look at themselves in the mirror."

Castleford are already assured of finishing fifth in the table. Two places above them, Bradford take the chance to rest a string of regulars tomorrow, including Henry Paul, Stuart Spruce and James Lowes, from their side at Hull.

Gareth Stanley, Chris Birchall and Craig McDowell all make their first team debuts, but Robbie Paul is back after a six-week lay-off with rib and lung damage.

Huddersfield, who are also planning to announce the signing of a high-profile Australian winger, wrap up their wooden spoon campaign at Halifax, who have released Rob Roberts and Marvin Golden but are optimistic of activating a release clause to sign Mick Higham and Stuart Donlan from Leigh.

Danny Farrar, a model of consistency as Warrington's hooker for the last three seasons, retires after tomorrow's game at home to Salford, opening up the possibility that the Wolves could move for Paul Rowley, the England hooker who is out of contract at Halifax.

"It's a matter of finance," said the Warrington coach, Darryl Van de Velde. "Danny has been a model pro and it's a massive hole to fill."

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