FRUSTRATED Bill Tupou is unsure when he will be able to return to action for Wakefield Trinity.
The Tonga centre pulled out of yesterday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final loss at Salford Red Devils during the warm-up having felt a twinge in a problematic hamstring injury.
Tupou, who was named on the wing, was unable to take to the field and was replaced by 18th man Ashley Gibson just minutes before kick-off.
It was the latest setback for Wakefield who had already seen leading try-scorer Ben Jones-Bishop withdraw on the eve of the game while captain Danny Kirmond was deemed unfit, too.
They subsequently fell 30-6 in disappointing fashion, recording back-to-back defeats having seen their seven-game winning run ended by Leeds Rhinos a week ago.
“I’ve been having a bit of trouble with the hamstring,” explained Tupou, with depleted Trinity already missing seven sidelined regulars.
“I did it against Leeds last Saturday so was carrying it into the game but was pretty much waiting to see how I was feeling in the warm-up.
“Obviously it wasn’t right. I’m not too sure how long I’ll be missing. I’m going to get it checked and we’ll see how it goes but we’ll just assess it from there.”
The former Canberra Raiders player, 26, admitted it was a bitter blow missing out on the semi-finals.
“It’s not good for the team but we can just keep our heads up and focus on Super League now,” he said, with Wakefield in fifth place, just two points behind Salford in second.
“Hopefully we can come back with a win next week.
“We’re over at Hull FC on Friday and it’s a big one; they went to Salford and won last week so will be on the up. We’ll have to match them.”
Fourth-placed Hull, of course, face leaders Castleford Tigers first in Sunday’s last remaining Cup quarter-final meaning they will have a far shorter turnaround.
Tupou, who has eight tries in 15 games this term, will hope to use the extra time to sort his hamstring issue having originally had problems with it after scoring a hat-trick in the win at Wigan last month.
He missed the next game, a 34-24 league victory at Salford, but will now hope to make a swift recovery especially as he has already sat out three matches earlier in the season due to concussion.
“It is stop-start at the moment,” he added.
“It’s frustrating for me as I hate getting injured and watching the boys play. It’s not a good feeling being away from the team so hopefully I can get it right and get myself back in the team.
“It’s pretty tough currently as we have a lot of injuries.
“But everyone has heaps of injuries. We can’t put the defeat down to that; Salford turned up and were the better team.”
Meanwhile, coach Chris Chester is confident Wakefield’s Super League form will not disintegrate as it did after last year’s exit from Challenge Cup.
Trinity are currently just two points behind second-placed Salford in Super League with plenty still to play for so it is imperative they do not suffer a simillar re-action.
But Chester said: “This is a totally different group, a lot stronger than it was 12 months ago.
“I’m confident that won’t happen again.
“It’s important we don’t lose focus and make sure losing doesn’t become a habit like it was last year. But I am sure these guys can turn it around.”
He added: “It was tough to take but take nothing away from Salford. I thought they could have scored more points than they did, and from minute one to minute 80 they totally dominated.
“We got beaten in every facet of the game. The injuries certainly don’t help. We’re down to 15 or 16 fit players having lost a few the day before and then Bill Tupou in the warm-up.
“Ashley Gibson and Adam Walker probably shouldn’t have played either but I don’t want to use that as an excuse. We were pretty poor.”