NRL crackdown on head contact making recruitment difficult for Wakefield Trinity

CHRIS CHESTER feels that recruiting players from the NRL has become more difficult following a crackdown on foul play and high tackles in the competition.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:08 pm
Wakefield head coach Chris Chester. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Wakefield head coach Chris Chester. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The NRL announced last month that there would be more severe punishments for high shots with three red cards and 14 sin-bins produced in the round immediately following the announcement - with referees instructed to adopt a zero tolerance approach for contact to the head.

Super League has not followed suit with the stricter policing of the game as of yet but Wakefield Trinity coach Chester has felt the impact of the crackdown, as an increase in suspensions in the NRL means clubs are becoming more reluctant to release players.

Trinity previously attempted to sign Andrew Fifita, the twin brother of Trinity forward David, after a spot became available on their overseas quota due to Adam Tangata’s move to Halifax Panthers.

Wakefield are still hopeful of bringing a new player in before the signing deadline, with a few names on their list of targets.

“The Aussies are a bit reluctant to release anybody because with the high shots, the suspensions have gone through the roof over there,” Chester said, following his sides’ win over Leigh on Sunday.

“We felt we were close to a player in the NRL but that didn’t work out. We are hopeful, especially with the quota spot, that we can try and entice somebody before the signing deadline.

“We have got a couple of players in mind but it is just a waiting process at the minute.”

Chester admits that options are limited, with the Wakefield coach insisting there are not many players available who can come in and improve the current squad.

He added: “There are no real players of quality that we feel can improve the team we have. It seems every year that the same players keep getting regurgitated.

“I don’t want to sound disrespectful but that is just the game at the minute, there is not enough quality.

“We have spoken to a lot of agents in Australia and England but there is not a great deal out there.”