Kopczak won't be daunted by Bulls - Anderson
2nd March 2013
Huddersfield Giants coach Paul Anderson says former Bradford Bulls forward Craig Kopczak will be unfazed when he faces his old team-mates for the first time since walking out on them.
The Wales captain stunned the Bulls when he suddenly terminated his contract with the club on the eve of the final match of last season against Catalan Dragons.
It was thought he had been offered a deal with the Giants, who subsequently agreed a financial settlement with Bradford after signing the player on a three-year contract.
Kopczak is likely to be the centre of attention when the Bulls take on the undefeated Super League leaders at the John Smith’s Stadium tomorrow but Anderson is confident his player will not lose his focus.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Anderson said. “Koppy knows his job and he’ll do his job.”
Bradford coach Francis Cummins admits Kopczak left his club on bad terms but insists there will be no repercussions tomorrow.
“I’m sure the players felt let down and it was a strange situation for everyone but you’ve got to move on,” he said.
“We definitely won’t be going into this weekend’s game thinking we’ll chase Koppy around the field.”
Kopczak returns from injury while Huddersfield are set to give a second outing to Tongan powerhouse Ukuma Ta’ai, who was described as a “Christmas turkey” by Anderson after missing the whole of pre-season training after being held up in Auckland by visa delays.
“He’s had a good 10 days of intense training and he’s looking like a player now,” Anderson said. “He’s settled now and is a lot more relaxed about the place.”
After beating Leeds Rhinos and holding Catalan Dragons to a draw in their first two home games, Castleford Tigers will be looking to claim another notable “scalp” when Wigan Warriors visit the Wish Communications Stadium tomorrow.
The Warriors have won the last eight meetings between the clubs but coach Shaun Wane says Castleford is a difficult place to visit.
“They are tough at home,” he said. “It is a compact stadium and the atmosphere is usually great - usually one-sided for Castleford.
“It is quite a small pitch so maybe not the best venue to try and play an expansive game, the way we like to play but we need to be able to adapt.”
The Tigers are boosted by the return from suspension of Rangi Chase while his England team-mate Ben Westwood will be back for Warrington Wolves’ visit to Hull KR.
Westwood, who missed last week’s win at Hull FC through suspension, goes into tomorrow’s game needing one more try to reach 100 for the club.
The Robins, who will give a debut to Australian stand-off Travis Burns, are looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s shock defeat at Salford City Reds, where they squandered a 20-point lead.
“They’ll be smarting after last weekend,” acknowledged Warrington coach Tony Smith. “They are a dangerous team with plenty of tryscoring ability.
“There are a lot of dangers, you only have to go and look at their pointscoring tally to see how dangerous they are.
“We’ll have to take care of a number of players. We’ll have to be good right across the board.”