NEW BOSS Chris Chester says he didn’t have to think twice when he was offered the opportunity to coach his hometown club Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Chester was appointed on Wednesday, just eight days after previous coach Brian Smith’s shock resignation.
I had three weeks at home doing a hell of a lot of housework. I’ve recharged my batteries and managed to get away so I am looking forward to the challenge.Chris Chester, new Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach.
The 37-year-old lives 10 minutes away from Wildcats’ Belle Vue ground and jumped at the chance to come home after more than a decade working in Hull.
“They are the team I supported as a young kid,” he said of Wildcats, who are second from bottom in First Utility Super League.
“I was a season ticket holder myself and I know what this club is all about and the tradition behind it all, so it was a very easy decision.”
The former half-back began his professional playing career with Halifax 20 years ago and also had spells at Wigan, Hull and Hull KR.
“I never had the opportunity to play for Wakefield, unfortunately,” he added.
“I would have loved to sign as a young kid, but a certain scout didn’t think I was good enough. No bitterness, though!”
Chester took over as Rovers coach in 2014 and led them to Wembley last year, beating Wigan and Warrington Wolves during their Challenge Cup run, but was axed just three games into the new season.
He was out of the game for less than a month, but admitted it was long enough.
“I certainly got fed up of being at home,” he said.
“I had three weeks at home doing a hell of a lot of housework. I’ve recharged my batteries and managed to get away so I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Chester confirmed assistant-coaches Stuart Dickens and Lee Gilmour will continue on Wildcats’ coaching staff and will be in charge of the team for Friday’s game at Hull.
John Kear, the former Wakefield coach who is now in charge of Batley Bulldogs, is to return to Belle Vue next year to head up the rugby operation.
“I have got lot of respect for John,” Chester said.
“We go back a hell of a long way. I think I was 15 or 16 years old and he was an academy coach when I was playing.
“We’ve kept in touch ever since and I’m looking forward to working with John. He has a vast amount of experience and it’ll be great to work with him again.”
Ironically, Chester has effectively swapped jobs with James Webster, an ex-Wakefield coach, who has been appointed Hull KR boss until the end of the season.
With Chester living in Wakefield and Webster in Hull, the duo used to pass each other on the way to work.
“I’m pleased for Webby,” Chester stressed. “He’s an east Hull lad now and deserves the opportunity there.
“I’ve been travelling for 15 years now to Hull and back and it’s certainly nice working on the doorstep, that’s for sure.”