Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester against ending Super League season early to expand play-offs

Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester would be left with a feeling of bitter disappointment if his side were forced to end their season early.

By Ben McKenna
Thursday, 29th October 2020, 8:50 am

Discussions have been held to expand the Super League play-offs, in a bid to get rid of dead-rubber games and lessen the fixture load on clubs.

Teams are currently facing three games a week, with the schedule put together in the hope that supporters would be permitted back into stadia.

That has not been the case, leading to suggestions that the regular season could be curtailed and the play-offs expanded to potentially six or eight teams.

Wakefield have battled through Covid-19 and injury complications since the restart, leaving them 10th in the table.

They picked up their first two wins since March last week, beating Huddersfield Giants and Hull KR, and Chester feels his team have made enough sacrifices to be allowed to finish their season.

“I think it’s madness, crazy,” Chester said of the reports that the play-offs could be expanded.

“I’ve not had anything from Michael [Carter, Trinity’s chief executive] or the people upstairs, but we have worked so hard as a club to make sure we fulfil our obligations to Sky.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 22/10/2020 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity - The Totally Wicked Stadium, Langtree Park, St Helens, England - Chris Chester.

“With everything we’ve gone through, as a club, I would be really, really disappointed if they went down that route.

“At times we’ve had 11 people stood down, nine people stood down -- we could very easily have said we can’t play, we’re not playing, we’ve got too many players out.

“We’ve not done that, we have fulfilled our fixtures.

“There was one game we had to call off against Leeds, but that’s a game we are picking up now.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 22/10/2020 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity - The Totally Wicked Stadium, Langtree Park, St Helens, England - Wakefield celebrate Tom Johnstone's game-winning try against Huddersfield.

“We have got 20 games to play in the comp and I think let’s get it played, let’s get it done. It has been a difficult year for everybody, but I would be disappointed if it finished early.”

Wakefield face rivals Leeds Rhinos tonight, looking to make it three wins in a row for the first time this season.

With clubs facing such congested fixture lists, it is harder to predict what teams opponents will field but Chester insists Trinity’s focus will only be on themselves.

“What we have changed over the last couple of weeks is we’ve not worried too much about the opposition and tried not to over-think things,” he added.

“We’ve tried to just focus on the things we are doing well on the training field and in games. I’ve not really paid too much attention to Leeds, we have looked at the areas we can improve and certainly the areas we have been good at over the last couple of weeks.

“We’ve played with a lot more energy with the ball and not been scared of throwing the ball about and that was plain to see last weekend.”