SECURING A place in the First Utility Super-8s has been a “massive achievement” by Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, coach Chris Chester says.
Wildcats finished last year’s regular season 11 points adrift at the foot of Super League and were bottom again when Chester succeeded Brian Smith at Easter, but have confirmed a top-eight spot – and therefore their place in the top-flight next term – with a game in hand.
Chester’s men will be sixth at the end of the weekly rounds if they beat visitors Castleford Tigers tomorrow and the coach said: “Getting into the top-eight is a massive achievement for everybody at the club.
“Everybody here has been really good.
“I took over a squad of players who weren’t believing in themselves, but we have got a lot of belief in the group now and that has been a big factor in how we play and the results as well.”
Victory over Kingstone Press Championship outfit Bradford Bulls in last year’s million pound game kept Wakefield in Super League and Chester insisted he was always confident they could avoid having to go down to the wire this time.
“That’s something I talked to [chairman] Michael Carter about when I took over,” he said. “I didn’t want to be in that million pound game. Michael wanted a good middle-eights run, but I thought we could get into the Super-8 and we have managed to do that.
“I am pleased for everybody, because they have been through a tough period. I know as a Wakefield fan the last 10 years has been tough, so it is nice people can look at us now as an improving club.
“People want to join Wakefield, which hasn’t been the case in recent years. A lot of the credit for that goes to Michael Carter, who has not just invested a lot of money, but a lot of time as well to turn things around.
“I’m sure he’ll enjoy watching the million pound game in his apartment in Portugal!”
Toronto have announced Wakefield outside back Craig Hall and Leigh winger Liam Kay as their first signings ahead of their entry into Kingstone Press League 1 for 2017.
Hall, 28, played for Hull and Hull KR before joining Wakefield two years ago and rejected a new offer from the Wildcats in order to move.