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Jon Wilkin relishing Bulls date
JON Wilkin will wear the captain’s armband on Saturday as Saints seek their first win at Odsal since 2010.
Even before he knew he had been given the skipper’s role, Wilkin was already taking with relish about the game against the Bulls.
It is a fixture – not always for the right reasons - that has often given the ball handling back rower something to remember it by.
Wilkin recalls: “I have been sent off twice in my career and both times it was Odsal. I think the Bradford fans must hate me.
“It is always a tough, tight physical game there – and I see it no different this week.
“The pitch is always a little bit heavier under foot and so field position will be vital.”
Saints slumped to a 12-8 defeat last year, on a dismal day that marked the end of Royce Simmons’ time in charge of the club.
The previous year it took a late Jamie Foster penalty to snatch a draw, with Saints’ last success being the 38-6 triumph in 2010.
Wilkin scored that afternoon in a game that was personal triumph for four-try Paul Wellens.
With Saints yet to really hit their straps this year after a mixed bag of results, they will head to Odsal with a certain degree of caution.
Where and how Wilkin plays on Saturday will be revealed when the game gets under way, but last weekend it was clear that coach Brown wants him in one of the pivot roles.
Wilkin was probably Saints best player, making 48 tackles and yet still being able to guide Saints around the pitch with, particularly in the first half, a good kicking game.
Wilkin said: “My job is constantly changing - I don’t know if I am playing the same role two weeks in a row.
“I am one of the moveable parts in the team. I enjoy that and embrace different facets. I like being on the ball but also doing the work rate.”
Wilkin believes aspects of Friday’s game will have taught the team a few lessons, particularly about the sanctity of possession.
He said: “We were relatively dominant in the first half but then showed if you don’t get the ball how difficult it is to get the result.
“The second half we just didn’t get the ball and when we did it was off the back of Hull having three or four sets on the bounce against us.
“Eventually that pressure told with the Richard Whiting try.
“It was disappointing because it is a game we should have won, but it is not a bad lesson to learn - you don’t win games without the ball.”