Wakefield Trinity boss confirms interest in Canberra Raiders half-back - and looks ahead to St Helens clash

Canberra Raiders' Sam Williams is a possible solution to Wakefield Trinity’s half-back problem for next year, but coach Chris Chester insists a deal has not been done.
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The Australian scored five tries and 26 goals in 24 games for Trinity three years ago and has also played in Betfred Super League for Catalans Dragons.

Williams is in his third season at Canberra, but has been kept out of their team this year by England pivot George Williams who joined them in pre-season from Wigan Warriors.

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Danny Brough, who is on Trinity’s injury list, will join Bradford Bulls for 2021 and Chester confirmed: “I have spoken to Sammy and kept in contact with him. There’s certainly no deal done as yet.

Sam Williams during his spell at Wakefield in 2017. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.Sam Williams during his spell at Wakefield in 2017. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
Sam Williams during his spell at Wakefield in 2017. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“I have been speaking to a number of players that are off contract over here and in the NRL. A lot will go down to the budget side of things, we still don’t know where we are at budget-wise, but it is a position we feel is one we need to strengthen - and sooner rather than later.

“That’s the priority at the minute, but no deal has been done with Sam Williams or any other player at this moment in time.”

Chester will be looking for a repeat performance, but different result, when Trinity take on St Helens at Warrington’s HJ Stadium on Thursday.

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Wakefield were pipped 20-16 by the champions six days ago and the coach said: “We showed some really positive signs and for large parts of the game we were pretty good.

“I wasn’t frustrated with the result, I am more frustrated we can’t do that week-in and week-out.

“That has been the biggest issue for us for a number of years and something we are trying to address, but last week I thought we attacked pretty good and toughed it out when we needed to.

“With a little bit of luck here and there it could have been a different story. It is probably the best performance we have had since lockdown.”

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Trinity made only two errors last week and Chester reckons they won’t be far away from their first win since rugby league returned from the coronavirus break if they can repeat that.

“There’s some areas of our game we need to fix up,” he admitted. “The right-edge are prepared, they have leaked a few tries over the last few weeks and we have tried to tinker with a few things in training.

“Fingers crossed we can defend a bit tougher on that right side, but looking at the squad, it is one that’s more than capable of getting a result.

“There’s some guys coming back over the next three to four days as well - Jacob Miller, Tinirau Arona, Tony Gigot and Jay Pitts - so there’s going to be some competition for places and everybody has got a lot to play for this week.”

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With no new Covid-19 cases, Chester has named a 20-man squad including last week’s 17, plus Ben Jones-Bishop, Chris Green and Romain Navarrete.

Saints coach Kristian Woolf has added Aaron Smith, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd and Jake Wingfield to the side on duty six days ago.

St Helens: from Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Taia, Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Lees, Amor, Smith, Bentley, Welsby, Joe Batchelor, Simm, Dodd, Wingfield.

Wakefield Trinity: from A Walker, Johnstone, Lyne, Jones-Bishop, Fifita, Ashurst, Westerman, Kopczak, James Batchelor, Green, Tangata, Jowitt, J Wood, Croft, Hampshire, Bailey, Tanginoa, Navarrete, Senior, Battye.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).

Kick-off: Thursday, 7.45pm at HJ Stadium, Warrington.

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Laura Collins