St Helens v Wakefield Trinity: Chris Chester is refreshed and ready for Saints challenge

Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester.
Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester.
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WAKEFIELD TRINITY boss Chris Chester says he is in the “most challenging” time of his coaching career.

Trinity, who visit Betfred Super League leaders St Helens tomorrow, have slipped to ninth in the table, just two points off bottom spot.

Wakefield Trinity's Craig Kopczak'.

Wakefield Trinity's Craig Kopczak'.

The 46-16 defeat at Wigan Warriors 15 days ago was Trinity’s eighth loss in their last nine league games and Chester said: “It has probably been the most challenging eight to 10 weeks I have had as a head coach. There have been times when I have questioned myself and done a lot of soul-searching.”

But he insisted: “I have come back really positive and refreshed and we are still there in a half-decent spot. We have just got to make sure we get a couple of wins under our belt.”

The final six games of the season will see Trinity face the current top four, plus the bottom two of Hull KR and London Broncos.

“We know we have got a tough run-in, “ Chester added. “The situation we are in is not great, but we are confident we will get out of this rut.

Pauli Pauli.

Pauli Pauli.

“These lads are putting the effort in, but I think where we are letting ourselves down is probably just trying too hard and trying individually to do things to try and lift the team.

“When confidence is low it sometimes doesn’t work and it makes us look a bit stupid, but the boys are fighting hard and everybody’s on the same page.”

Of how his squad responded to some time off last week, Chester said: “They have all come back pretty refreshed.

“I think we got to a point where they were getting fed up of the sight of me and vice versa, to be honest.

“Just to have some time away from each other has been, I think, a big boost to everybody.

“It has certainly refreshed my batteries, as well as the rest of the staff and players and we are ready to have a good dig [tonight].”

Saints, with a second-string side, were beaten at bottom club London Broncos two weeks ago and they made heavy work of seeing off Championship part-timers Halifax in last weekend’s Cup semi-final.

Boss Justin Holbrook this week announced he will leave at the end of the season to join NRL side Gold Coast Titans, but Chester said: “I don’t know if that is going to galvanise them and spur them on or whether they are going to be a bit down in the dumps.

“I don’t think there’s ever a good time to play Saints, to be honest, and we just have to make sure we are ready to go.”

Craig Kopczak and Danny Kirmond are available after injury and fellow forward Keegan Hirst is also in contention, with Pauli Pauli dropping out from the team beaten at Wigan.

Saints are without Alex Walmsley (eye injury), but Zeb Taia is available after recovering from a dislocated shoulder and Aaron Smith and Jack Welsby have been drafted into the initial 19.

St Helens: from Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Fages, Richardson, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Peyroux, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley, Welsby.

Wakefield Trinity: from Annakin, Arundel, Batchelor, Brough, England, Fifita, Hampshire, Hirst, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, King, Kirmond, Kopczak, Lyne, Miller, Randell, Tanginoa, Tupou, Wood.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths (Widnes).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.