WAKEFIELD coach John Kear has massively raised the stakes ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Galpharm by announcing the capture of Giants stars Brad Drew and Paul Reilly.
The news has clearly been made now in an attempt to act as a major distraction for the Giants – and specifically the two players – as both sides continue their push to reach the end-of-season play-offs.
The Wildcats have announced Drew is joining next season on a two-year deal, while Reilly is moving to Belle Vue for 12 months.
As a result, much of the attention will now shift to the way Drew and Reilly perform against players who will soon be their new teammates.
But Giants coach Jon Sharp, who has handed Reilly the honour of leading out his hometown club this weekend, is determined to make sure the news makes as little impact as possible.
“This news makes no difference to us whatsoever,” said Sharp today.
“Our focus going in to the game remains the same as it always has.
“It is still about looking to win this game to make sure we keep in the race to reach the play-offs for the first time.
“To be honest, when Wakefield chose to announce these signings was up to them. We had already announced that Brad and Paul were leaving us at the end of the season. For us, it’s a closed door.”
Sunday’s Sky-televised clash (4.00) will be the last home game for the Giants in the regular season, although if they finish fourth in Super League they will get a home tie in the play-offs.
That’s why Reilly will be first man out of the tunnel as he prepares to bring the curtain down on a glittering 11-year Huddersfield career.
Former Giants chief Kear has been a long-time admirer of both Reilly and Drew and, on announcing their imminent arrivals at Belle Vue, made it clear how highly he rated them.
“Brad has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, first-class skill and a winning edge, all of which will benefit the young players at the Wildcats,” said Kear.
“Paul is another highly renowned competitor, he never takes a backwards step and has a great work ethic. He, too, will add a great deal to the group.
“The signing of Brad and Paul gives a full indication of Wakefield’s quest to become a regular, true competitor within the Super League.”
Galpharm chief Sharp is confident the professionalism of both men will mean their performances this weekend will not be affected by the news.
They have both stated publicly their desire to help the Giants reach the play-offs for the first time.
That will be confirmed on Sunday if Warrington lose at St Helens tonight and Huddersfield beat Wakefield, who would then miss out on a top-six finish.