WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats’ head coach John Kear was reunited with the Rugby League Challenge Cup in Doncaster yesterday afternoon.
Kear was at the helm when Sheffield Eagles became the first South Yorkshire side to win the coveted trophy with victory over Wigan at Wembley in 1988.
“It has to be one of the highlights of my career, “ said Kear on a promotional launch at the Lakeside Shopping Outlet ahead of Sunday’s fourth round tie against the Dons at the Keepmoat Stadium. “Wigan were the Cup kings at that time and nobody gave us a chance.”
More than 20 years on, Kear says he still gets a buzz out of the Challenge Cup.
“It’s not just me; it’s the players,” he said. “We did our usual Monday morning de-brief on yesterday’s game but it was hard to keep the players focused on the Hull Kingston Rovers’ game - they just wanted to look forward to the Doncaster game.”
Wakefield’s only previous appearance at the Keepmoat Stadium was also in the Challenge Cup.
“We played Hull there in the semi-final and although we lost it was tremendous occasion,” said Kear. “The place was packed and there was a great atmosphere.
“It’s a superb stadium and we are looking forward to playing there again on Sunday and hopefully finish up on the winning side this time.
“It will probably be the first time this season that we’ll be going into a game as favourites, but we won’t be taking Doncaster for granted,
“Tony’s done a great job, as have the people running the club, and I’ve no doubt whatsoever that Doncaster will be up for it and we’ve got to be ready to match them.
Said Dons’ boss Miller: “The game has probably come at the right time for us after four successive league defeats.
“The lads will all be looking forward to the game and it gives some of our younger players, who harbour hopes of playing in Super League in future, the chance to show what they can do. We’ve also got several players with Wakefield connections and they’ll be looking to impress.”