FOR the first time in his career, Wakefield coach John Kear will not care about the result of a match involving his team when the Wildcats take on St Helens in Super League tonight.
Wakefield are dedicating the match to the memory of 20-year-old forward Leon Walker, who collapsed and died during a reserve match last Sunday, and Kear says the occasion is more important than the outcome.
"I don’t know how the players will react and I don’t know how the Saints players will react either," said former Giants chief Kear, left.
"What I will say is that I’m not bothered about the result. The result is completely secondary to me.
"In my ideal scenario, we would have an immaculately-observed minute’s silence as a tribute to Leon with his mum and dad and close family out on the field.
"And then both teams would turn in an absolutely sensational game of rugby league where you’d see all the skills, the commitment and passion that makes this game great and which made Leon fall in love with the game.
"If we could have that, it would be a fitting tribute to Leon before he is laid to rest.
"To tell the truth, if someone said we can win 2-0 and it’s an ugly win or we can go out there and it’s 32-30 and it’s been a celebration of a lad’s love of rugby league, that would do for me."
The Wakefield club were already dedicating the 2009 season to prop forward Adam Watene, who collapsed and died during a training session in October, and several players were having bereavement counselling.
"They are as well as can be expected," added Kear. "It’s been a really difficult week. It’s a very raw wound at the minute because it’s only four days since it happened.
"When we lost Adam you could focus upon grieving and come to terms with it over a period of time before you had to do the business of rugby league.
"We’ve got to attempt to come together collectively to try our best to play a good game of rugby league but it won’t be that easy."
The League announced yesterday that, in addition to the minute’s silence that will be observed at all games this weekend, teams will walk out side by side for Super League and Championship matches.
Victory for the fifth-placed Wildcats would enable them to draw level with Saints, while Leeds and Huddersfield – two of the other teams above them in the table – are also in action tomorrow.
The Rhinos are aiming to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at the hands of St Helens when they take on struggling Catalans Dragons at Headingley.