BOSS Chris Chester reckons Wakefield Trinity are in much better shape now than 12 months ago and says today’s visit of Huddersfield Giants is chance to prove it.
The all-top-flight clash is Trinity’s fourth and final warm-up game before their Betfred Super League opener at promoted Hull KR on Friday, February 2.
Chester has been relatively pleased with how things have gone so far – after a Boxing Day loss to Leeds Rhinos, huge win over Halifax and defeat with a young side at Batley Bulldogs last week – but knows this evening’s game is the biggest test before the real business begins.
“It will give us a fair indication of where we’re at,” said the Wakefield coach.
“We had a couple of good wins last pre-season and then came up against a red-hot Castleford side and that gave us a kick up the backside really. We knew after that game that we were not as good as we thought we were.”
He added: “I am hoping that doesn’t happen this time against Huddersfield. We are in a lot better position than we were 12 months ago.
We had a couple of good wins last pre-season and then came up against a red-hot Castleford side and that gave us a kick up the backsideChris Chester
“We’ve had a great pre-season and we had probably 95 per cent of the squad back from day one. There was just the World Cup guys and Dave Fifita missing earlier in pre-season, but those three will all play a big part on Saturday.”
Trinity’s first-team squad will fly to Lanzarote on Monday for a week-long pre-season camp.
That will put the final touches to preparations for the new campaign, but Chester admitted the warm weather training is taking place nearer the start of the season than he would have liked.
He revealed: “This camp was booked four months ago, when we thought the season would start the second week in February, like it did last year. We thought we would have a full week after the camp before we play Hull KR.
“That has been brought forward now so it has a little bit of an effect on our preparation. We fly back into the country on the 29th and play on February 2.
“But we can get a lot of work done over in Lanzarote and that’s ideal for us. It is one of those things, we’ll just get on with it.
“We’re looking forward to it and it’ll be a really good camp.”
Giants’ squad for tomorrow includes full-back Jake Mamo, who scored 12 tries in nine appearances last year before suffering a season-ending foot injury in June.
Coach Rick Stone’s side beat Dewsbury Rams 32-22 last week and he said: “I think squad-wise we’re a bit better off than we were last season, especially in our outside-backs.
“We’re in a pretty good place at the moment.
“The boys will feel better off from last week’s game and will hopefully be a bit sharper against Wakefield.”
Wakefield Trinity (from): Annakin, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Baldwinson, Caton-Brown, Crowther, England, Fifita, Finn, Grix, Hampshire, Horo, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Tupou, K Wood.
Huddersfield Giants (from): Brough, Clough, Dickinson, English, Ferguson, Gaskell, Hinchcliffe, Lawrence, Mamo, McIntosh, Murphy, O’Brien, Ormsby, Rankin, Roberts, Roche, Simpson, Smith, Ta’ai, Turner, Wakeman, Walne, S Wood.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Warrington).
Kick-off: Tonight, 6pm.