WAKEFIELD TRINITY are on the verge of what coach Chris Chester says would be a “massive achievement”.
A win at home to St Helens tomorrow would secure a top-four finish in Betfred Super League and four home games in the Super-8s.
That makes it one of Trinity’s biggest games of the summer era, but whatever happens they are already guaranteed to end the regular season above giants of the competition including Wigan and Saints.
It has been a remarkable transformation since Chester took charge at Easter last year, when Wakefield were bottom of the table and he said: “If we do finish in the top-four that will be a massive achievement.”
But Chester insisted the credit should go elsewhere. He stressed: “There’s been a lot of hard work put in, long before I came to the club.
“People like the chairman, Michael Carter, have put the club in a really good position. I have got the easy job of just coaching these guys.
“We have got a great group of players here.
“Even if we don’t win this week we will still be in the mix and we are over the moon with where we are at this moment in time.
“We have turned over some really good sides at home and away this year and we really feel we can give the Super-8s a shake-up.
“We don’t fear anybody in this competition and we are playing some really good footy at the moment. It is great to be involved with these players.”
Trinity finished eighth in Super League last year, but lost all seven of their extra fixtures. The final quarter of the season was an anti-climax and Chester said: “Last year after one loss that was pretty much it.
“This year we are right in the mix and we’ve given ourselves an opportunity of getting to a semi-final.”
Many pundits expected Trinity to slip back into the bottom-four this term, but Chester insisted they were always confident they could improve on last season.
“We spoke in pre-season season about some targets and goals,” he said. “When we were confirmed in the top-eight we reset a few, just in-house and we set the top-four as a goal.
“We’re pleased we are very nearly there and if we do finish fourth the chairman will be pleased because we could potentially have some big home ties in the Super-8s.”
Saints have had a disappointing campaign, but are still in touch with the top-four and Chester warned: “They’ll be thinking if they can win they will only be a point behind us. They will be thinking they can catch a few teams, like us Salford and Leeds.”
James Hasson, signed from Salford, is set to make his Trinity debut and Danny Kirmond (knee) and Reece Lyne (suspension) are available, with Anthony England dropping out from last week’s team.
Former Wakefield prop Kyle Amor could return for Saints after a hamstring injury and Matty Lees is also added to the 17 who beat Catalans Dragons last week.
Wakefield Trinity: from Annakin, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Caton-Brown, Fifita, Finn, Grix, Hadley, Hasson, Hirst, Huby, Jones-Bishop, Kirmond, Lyne, Tupou, Walker, Williams, Wood.
St Helens: from Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Thompson, Lee, Peyroux, Knowles, Richardson, Grace, Lees, Taia.
Referee: James Child (Batley).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.