WAKEFIELD TRINITY fancy their chances of a run in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup this year, which means they won’t be taking Dewsbury Rams lightly tonight.
Rams have won just once in the Kingstone Press Championship this term and only Bradford Bulls’ points deduction is keeping them off the foot of the table. For Betfred Super League side Trinity, the sixth-round derby is a visit to what could be their home ground next year, if plans to move out of Belle Vue and relocate to Dewsbury go ahead.
The two clubs share players under a dual-registration agreement and Wakefield coach Chris Chester said: “I’ve watched a lot of them because of the clubs’ links.
“They ran Halifax close up until half-time last week and they’ve had some good wins under Neil Kelly. We certainly won’t be taking them for granted.
“We want to go as far as we can in this competition and we will treat them with the respect they deserve. It’s a game we’re looking forward to and, fingers crossed, we can be in the draw for the quarter-finals.”
Chester reckons Trinity have a “much stronger team” now than when they reached the last-four in 2016. He added: “It would be nice to get to the semi-final again this year.
“It’s something we spoke about in pre-season. It would be a great story if we got to the final, but we’re just looking forward to the game this week and hopefully getting through to the next round. We fancy our chances against anybody, especially if we get a home draw.”
Kelly reckons his men can relax and concentrate on producing a good performance tonight without worrying about the result.
“There’s no pressure on us,” said the Rams coach, who is from Wakefield and played for Trinity in the 1980s.
“It is highly unlikely we are going to get to Wembley this year, but it is a game we need to negotiate.
“It gives me an opportunity to maybe look at one or two players I’ve not seen a lot of.
“We are going to try and win it, but we’re not stupid – we are going to use it to try and improve the performances we’ve been getting in recent league games.”
Kelly, who has had to put preparations for his daughter’s wedding in Scarborough tomorrow on hold until after the tie, insisted: “It’s a good draw for us and we are looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good game and a good occasion. They’re going well this year and winning games people would have expected them in the past to lose. Their league position shows what a good season they are having and Chris Chester has done a great job there.”
Anthony Walker could play against Rams, five days after playing for them on dual-registration. James Batchelor, Jordan Crowther, Anthony England, Ashley Gibson and Sam Williams could also be called up, with Dean Hadley (fractured cheekbone), Ben Jones-Bishop, Craig Huby and Danny Kirmond dropping out from the side which won at Leigh Centurions last Saturday. For Rams, Robbie Ward, Tony Tonks, Mitch Stringer, Lewis Fairhurst, Jason Crookes, Aaron Ollett, Paul Sykes and Andy Kain are back in contention and Shaun Squires, Jack Teanby, Alex Brown and Sam Day drop out, along with Trinity’s Walker and Max Jowitt.
Dewsbury Rams: from Douglas, Fairhurst, Igbinedion, Morton, Crookes, Walshaw, Sykes, Kain, Tonks, Hemingway, Stringer, Aaron Brown, L Adamson, Ward, T Adamson, Speakman, Ollett, Glover, Sheriffe.
Wakefield Trinity: from Grix, Tupou, Lyne, Miller, Finn, England, Wood, Ashurst, Sio, Williams, Gibson, Arona, Arundel, Fifita, Crowther, Hirst, Caton-Brown, Walker, Batchelor.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Warrington).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.