Wakefield Trinity prop Dave Fifita takes one step back in a bid to take two steps forward

Dave Fifita.Dave Fifita.
Dave Fifita.
BIG PROP Dave Fifita doesn’t expect to make the start line for Wakefield Trinity this week.

The power-packed forward was a Man of Steel contender last year before suffering a foot injury during Trinity’s Magic Weekend loss to Catalans Dragons in May.

He made an attempted comeback, but had surgery in August which ended his season and has not featured in Trinity’s warm-up matches ahead of Friday’s trip to Hull KR in Betfred Super League round one.

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Coach Chris Chester will name an initial 21-man squad on Wednesday, but Fifita admitted: “If I played I would be pushing it, so I don’t think I will be playing.”

Dave Fifita is tackled by Hull's Jack Brown and Josh Bowden.Dave Fifita is tackled by Hull's Jack Brown and Josh Bowden.
Dave Fifita is tackled by Hull's Jack Brown and Josh Bowden.

He stressed: “I will take a step back from the squad and work on strengthening things in training.

“I don’t want to throw myself in at the deep end straight away and make myself look like an idiot.

“I haven’t been on my feet for about five months. They got to the bottom of the injury and it is about a six-to-nine-month lay-off, so I am hoping for about six months.

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“It has been five and a half months now. There have been a few operations, but I am nearly there so I don’t want to push myself too early.”

Joe Westerman.Joe Westerman.
Joe Westerman.

When he does return, Fifita wants to be at the level he showed in the first half of last term.

“The boys are confident in me,” he added.

“I have got a smile on my face and I want to produce more moments like last year.”

Though he has yet to play alongside them, Fifita reckons Trinity’s off-season recruits have added depth and quality to a squad which was flying high in 2019 before a run of serious injuries struck.

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“The London boys have brought a lot to the team,” he observed.

“Jay Pitts, his leadership has been really good for us in the back-row.

“We have struggled for the past few years with that right-edge back-row, but he looks like he has taken that with both hands. Alex Walker has suffered a pretty bad injury, that didn’t look so good.

“He is someone I am looking forward to working with and, when that time comes, it will be very exciting.

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“Also, we have got the big boy in the middle, Joe Westerman. I am looking forward to working with him. Me and T [Tinirau] Arona have got a good bond together and we have since I started here.

“We will welcome him with open arms and hopefully he can bring something to the table.”

Fifita reckons if Wakefield get more injuries this year they will be in a better position to cope.

“That is credit to the coaching staff,” he said. “If we do have an injury then we have got the blokes to cover that spot really well.

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“Last year, it was a big eye opener. This year they have done really well recruitment-wise – and there are the youth who are coming up big and strong.”

Trinity began 2019 with high hopes of forcing their way into the play-offs, but ended it battling against relegation.

Betfred rate only Huddersfield Giants and Hull KR as less likely to win the league leaders’ shield, but Fifita insisted silverware is the target.

He said: “It is pretty much what every team is fighting for; we want our hands on a trophy at the end of the season.

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“The Challenge Cup, Super League – any trophy will do. I really do think we have the squad here to build for it. We have got some guys with injuries coming back so we are hoping for a good start to the season.”