CHRIS CHESTER’S first meeting with former club Hull KR ended in embarrassment last night as his Wakefield Trinity Wildcats side suffered a 10-try hammering.
After winning 10 of his first 11 games since taking charge in March, Trinity’s head coach has now seen them lose two consecutively for the first time – and ship 92 points in the process.
They remain in sixth place but hopes of a top-eight finish will flounder if they do not recover from this debacle quickly.
Rovers winger Kieran Dixon scored a hat-trick in his first game for them since April but Wakefield were primarily undone by the brilliance of Terry Campese and Albert Kelly.
After his plethora of injury problems and just one full 80 minutes in 12 months, stand-off Campese was rested for Saturday’s defeat in Perpignan in order to ready himself for last night and the decision paid instant dividends.
The Australian was a class apart as he dictated play, allowing fellow countryman Kelly to flourish, too, as head coach James Webster enjoyed his first return to Belle Vue since resigning as Trinity chief just over 12 months ago.
Admittedly, Trinity were without banned captain Danny Kirmond and the injured Ben Jones-Bishop but no one saw this coming.
Rovers were 20-0 up in as many minutes as they ran error-ridden Wakefield ragged.
Trinity, inexplicably, could not cope with a series of crossfield bombs, whether from Kelly or Campese, and their defence was worryingly paperthin as Dixon, Kelly, James Greenwood and Shaun Lunt, the ex-Leeds hooker scoring his 150th career try, all crossed.
Trinity finally roused with a response when Scott Anderson sent Matty Ashurst hurtling through a gap for Joe Arundel to feed winger Bill Tupou in the 26th minute but it was only a brief hiatus.
Their defence was hesitant once more when allowing Greenwood to throw a speculative pass on the last tackle that suddenly saw prop Adam Walker in space, fellow prop James Green on hand to cross for their fifth try.
Mickey Sio clawed one back for Trinity before the break, Liam Finn’s kick seeing them trail 26-10 at the interval, and when Craig Hall, the former Rovers full-back who was dangerous here, crossed in the 47th minute, the visitors could have started shaking at 26-16.
However, Blair and Marsh produced a crucial try-saving tackle on Tom Johnstone and, then, benefitting from a dubious penalty when Wakefield were deemed to have ripped possession from Lunt, Dixon grabbed his second following a slick handling move in the 56th minute.
He completed his treble in the next set, rounding Hall after the excellent Blair broke on halfway, and Rovers never looked back, Greenwood and Kelly each securing their second tries and Blair also collecting one from Campese’s lovely chip.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Hall; Johnstone, Lyne, Arundel, B Tupou; Miller, Finn; Scruton, M Sio, Simon, A Tupou, Ashurst, Molloy. Substitutes: Anderson, Annakin, Arona, Howarth.
Hull KR: Marsh; K Sio, Clarkson, Thornley, Dixon; Campese, Kelly; Tilse, Lunt, Walker, Blair, Greenwood, Mulhern. Substitutes: Donaldson, Green, Allgood, Boudebza.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Widnes)