TOMORROW’S VISIT of neighbours Castleford Tigers is Wakefield Trinity’s big pre-season test, coach Chris Chester says.
Chester reckons by full-time he should have a good indication of how well Trinity’s preparations are going and what needs working on before their Betfred Super League opener against Hull on February 12.
Wakefield have picked up two wins so far, at Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day and Dewsbury Rams last Sunday, but Tigers will field a strong line-up and Chester knows tomorrow will be a more realistic indicator of his side’s prospects.
Trinity will also put out their big guns and Chester confirmed: “This is our big test.
“We’ve still got Featherstone and Sheffield to come, but we’ve always pinpointed this game as one to test where we’re at as a group.
“We are going to field as strong a team as we can in the first 50 minutes – we will treat it like a normal game.
“We’ve got people like Mitch Allgood and some others who played on Boxing Day and didn’t play last week.
“We want to try and get as many minutes as we can into those guys.
“It is going to be a really good challenge and a good test.”
Tigers are aiming to go at least one place better than 2016 and break into the top-four this year.
Only Grand Final runners-up Warrington Wolves scored more points in 2017 so Chester is relishing seeing how Trinity’s defence, which conceded just one try at Leeds, copes under what is likely to be heavy pressure at times.
“On paper I think Castleford’s recruitment has been fantastic over the off-season,” Chester said.
“They are a very hard team to defend against with the shape they throw at you.
“It is a game we’ve all been looking forward to and we can’t wait for the season to start now.”
Trinity have been training since November and Chester is happy with how things have gone so far.
“The signs have been very positive,” he said.
“We had a convincing win on Boxing Day and we did a lot of good things that day.
“We had another good win last week against Dewsbury, playing against not far off their strongest side.
“We had a lot of under-19s kids out there so the future of this club is looking bright at this moment in time.
“I hope that continues.”
Chester has named a strong squad for the Wildcats, with new signings Mitch Allgood, Mason Caton-Brown, Scott Grix, Keegan Hirst, Sam Williams, Craig Huby and Kyle Wood among the 21 on duty tomorrow.
James Batchelor, who scored a hat-trick of tries in last weekend’s win over Dewsbury Rams, also features.
Joel Monaghan (dislocated shoulder), Andy Lynch (broken leg) and Ben Roberts (foot) are due to return from long-term injuries for Tigers.
Matt Cook is also set to feature and recruits Greg Eden, Tuoyo Egodo and Daniel Igbinedion will get another chance to impress after featuring in the Boxing Day win over Hull.
Wakefield Trinity from: Allgood, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Batchelor, Caton-Brown, Crowther, Finn, Grix, Hirst, Huby, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Sio, Tupou, Walker, Williams, Wood.
Castleford Tigers: from Cook, Douglas, Eden, Egodo, Fitzsimmons, Gale, T Holmes, Igbinedion, Lynch, Maher, McLelland, McShane, Million, Minikin, Moors, Monaghan, Roberts, Sheehan, Springer, Webster, Westerman.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.