Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity - Chris Chester calls for 80-minute performance in 'massive' Challenge Cup tie
Along with Leigh Centurions, Wakefield Trinity are one of only two current Betfred Super League clubs not to have featured in a Challenge Cup or top-flight Grand Final over the past 25 years - and boss Chris Chester would love to put that right this season.
Realistically, the knockout competition is probably their best chance, which makes Saturday's opening, third round, tie against Catalans Dragons a crucial occasion for Trinity.
“We are excited,” Chester said of the BBC-televised clash at St Helens’ HJ Stadium. “We’ve made a massive deal about the Challenge Cup and how important it is to us as a group.”
Catalans are unbeaten after two Super League games, while Trinity have yet to pick up a win, but Chester is upbeat about their prospects, as long as they “play for 80 minutes”.
He said: “We’ve had three decent halves of footy against decent opposition and we’ve got to make sure we get out and have a really good start.”
It was 6-6 at half-time against Wigan Warriors nine days ago, but Trinity conceded 28 unanswered points in the second period.
“From the outside, people are probably saying it’s the same old Wakefield Trinity they can only play for 40 minutes,” Chester added.
“We know there’s a totally different feel about the whole playing group and staff and we’ve got to make sure [last week] was a one-off.
“We can take a lot of positives from the first 40 and we know how we can be better in that second 40.”
All of last week’s 17 are included in Trinity’s initial squad for today, including Tom Johnstone who failed a head injury assessment during the loss to Wigan.
Max Jowitt is available after injury and Liam Kay, Joe Arundel and Adam Tangata are also in contention.
Catalans’ squad includes the 17 players who beat Huddersfield Giants last Saturday, plus Benjamin Jullien, Matthieu Laguerre, Corentin Le Cam and Jordan Dezaria.
Catalans Dragons: from Mourgue, Davies, Langi, Whare, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Dudson, Bousquet, Whitley, McMeeken, Garcia, Da Costa, Jullien, Seguier, Laguerre, Le Cam, Baitieri, Kasiano, S Tomkins, Dezaria.
Wakefield Trinity: from Jowitt, Johnstone, Tupou, Lyne, Kay, Miller, Lino, Fifita, Arona, Ashurst, Tanginoa, Westerman, Pitts, Batchelor, Green, Senior, Crowther, Arundel, Tangata, J Wood, Hampshire.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield). Kick-off: Saturday, 5pm, at TW Stadium, St Helens.
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