Super League return wipes away worries for Wakefield Trinity's Craig Kopczak

RUNNING IT: Wakefield Trinity's Craig Kopczak. Picture: Chris Mangnall/ IT: Wakefield Trinity's Craig Kopczak. Picture: Chris Mangnall/
RUNNING IT: Wakefield Trinity's Craig Kopczak. Picture: Chris Mangnall/
FORWARD Craig Kopczak feared that Wakefield Trinity might never return to action during the suspension of rugby league.

It made his delight at playing in Wakefield’s first fixture since March all the sweeter, despite a narrow defeat at the hands of Wigan Warriors.

Trinity were originally scheduled to play St Helens this weekend, although that clash has been reshuffled with Wakefield now due to face Catalans Dragons on Saturday after six Hull FC players tested positive for Covid-19.

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The Black and Whites now have a large chunk of their squad who have been forced to isolate while their opponents from last weekend, Salford Red Devils, have no positive cases but still have 11 members of their squad asked to self-isolate under track and trace procedures.

The news comes as a blow but Kopczak is happy the sport has been able to resume.

“It was brilliant, finally putting the boots on again to get out there,” he said.

“There was a lot of frustration lifted really.

"There was quite a few moments where we thought rugby league could be no more.

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BIG HIT: Craig Kopczak and Josh Wood stop Wigan's George Burgess. Picture: Alex Whitehead/ HIT: Craig Kopczak and Josh Wood stop Wigan's George Burgess. Picture: Alex Whitehead/
BIG HIT: Craig Kopczak and Josh Wood stop Wigan's George Burgess. Picture: Alex Whitehead/

"We kept the faith and kept training hard and finally the frustration went when we got back into training.”

Kopczak spent the sport’s hiatus homeschooling his two children with his wife.

He admits there were some testing times as he got to grips with teaching and is glad to have life back to some form of normality.

“Just to get back to normality feels good. Being cooped up in your house 24/7, it is good to be back out there with your mates and getting your training and weights done,” he added.

“A change of scenery is nice and a breath of fresh air.

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“It was tough. I have two kids so we were homeschooling, we had some challenging times but we got through it together. The homeschooling is difficult, we are not teachers.

“We sit down with the laptops in the morning, go through all the work and as soon as they are finished they get to play outside and get some fresh air.

“We were starting with the Joe Wicks PE, so we had some good times as well.”

Last weekend’s meeting with Wigan was Trinity’s first taste of playing with the six-again rule.

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Teams are now awarded a set restart for an infringement at the ruck, rather than a penalty, something which has quickened the pace of games.

“Teams now are going to have to be more mobile and fitter. I think it is more entertaining for the game,” reflected Kopczak.

“We will see how it impacts us further on but at the moment it is entertaining for the fans.”

Wakefield almost clawed back a 16-point deficit against the Warriors and Kopczak believes there are “good signs” to build on.

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He added: “It was scrappy on both sides, being the first game for both us and with the new rules the pace of the game has definitely changed.

“The game is a lot quicker. We were just really unlucky to come up short. We showed that fighting spirit to get within a point and that is good signs for what is to come.”

Catalans bounced back from their defeat against St Helens on August 2 with a 40-14 victory over Castleford Tigers last weekend.

Tomorrow's contest will kick off Super League's reduced four-game schedule at St Helens Totally Wicked Stadium.

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