Poore plays down debut punch
31st January 2013
Australian forward Justin Poore cannot promise to be on his best behaviour throughout his time in Super League but insists the explosive start to his Wakefield Trinity Wildcats career was out of character.
The former Parramatta prop achieved instant notoriety when he was sent off 15 minutes into his first game on British soil for punching Leeds Rhinos prop Ryan Bailey during the Boxing Day friendly at Headingley.
The dismissal threatened to delay his Super League debut but the 27-year-old was able to submit an early-guilty plea to a grade A charge and is, therefore, clear to play in Sunday’s season-opener at Bradford Bulls.
“If I had got banned, I would have been pretty disappointed,” said Poore at the club’s pre-season media day.
“It’s a contact sport and sometimes blokes get a bit annoyed with each other.
“It was a pretty stupid reaction. I don’t usually do that stuff. There hasn’t been anything like that at home for years so I was quite surprised at myself.
“Hopefully I won’t be getting into too many fisticuffs too often.”
Wakefield coach Richard Agar, who believes there is nothing wrong with a “bit of biff”, mounted a strong defence of Poore’s actions at Headingley and believes he can prove to be an effective pack leader.
“I’m a bit of old school in believing that old number eights were always the men who fronted your pack up,” Agar said.
“He comes to us as a senior, seasoned player. He is probably coming into the prime of his career and I hope we get those best years out of him.”
The State of Origin front rower, whose father was born in England, is one of only three close-season signings made by Agar, whose new-look side proved to be the surprise packet of 2012 by reaching the play-offs.
Poore is hoping he can help the Wildcats build on last season’s successes, starting with Sunday’s trip to Odsal.
“I’ve had four trials and got through them pretty well,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to getting the season kicked off now.
“We’re trying to kick the season off with a bit of a bang and not get left behind.
“Talking to a few of the boys, we’re going to try and aim for at least three out of the first five games. They’re all winnable games.
“They made the eight last year and I think that’s the benchmark, we’ve go to do as good or better this year.”