Injuries can't be an excuse for Wakefield Trinity's slump in 2019, insists Chris Chester
WAKEFIELD TRINITY chief Chris Chester insists that their injury crisis cannot be used as an excuse for their poor form in the second half of 2019.
Trinity extended their 21-year stay in Super League with a 19-10 success over London Broncos last Friday.
Injuries to key players saw Wakefield’s hopes of a top-five finish quickly fade away after a strong start to the campaign.
And Chester has revealed the true cost of the injury problems, and admits that some players will need to go under the knife during the off-season.
“I worked it out the other day, our salary cap is £1.7m and we had £800k sat on the sidelines,” he said.
“You are always going to be up against the eight-ball when you have got your best players out.
“That is what has been really tough for us, we have missed those senior guys.
“I think we have just been unfortunate. Hull FC went through it last year and it is our turn.
“It has certainly been challenging in that respect but we showed in the first eight weeks what we were all about.
“And I am looking forward to getting my teeth back into pre-season.”
He insisted: “We can’t use the injuries as an excuse. And we probably need to be a little bit more professional at times.
“We have got the job done and that is all I am worried about.
“I think we are looking at around £130k to £140k [in costs], once we get the surgeries done, that need to be done at the end of the season.
“Jacob Miller needs a clean-out, Joe Arundel a shoulder; there are two or three that haven’t had operations yet.
“It has crippled us in that respect. Financially as well, it has just been challenging and I am relieved for the medical staff it is all over.”
Wakefield’s win over London sent the Broncos down, rescuing Hull KR who were beaten at Salford Red Devils.
And Chester claimed he didn’t even mention the possibility of relegation in the lead up to the fixture.
“The relegation word has never been mentioned in the dressing room by me or anybody else,” he said.
“The players handled the pressure really well. It was important that we got an experienced team out there.
“I thought Ryan Atkins, who has been fantastic for a couple of weeks, and Broughy [Danny Brough] played really well. Those guys really shone for us on Friday.
“I couldn’t be more pleased and proud.”
Meanwhile, Keegan Hirst’s and Chris Annakin’s respective departures from Belle Vue have been confirmed.
Annakin has signed for Dewsbury Rams while Hirst has joined Halifax.
Other Trinity players who are out of contract at the end of the year will have discussions over their futures.
“There are a few players who are off-contract that we need to have sit down with and get sorted out,” Chester added.
“There are a couple there who have played their last game for the club and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts.”