Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos - Chester unfazed by short turnaround

Wakefield Trinity boss Chris Chester insists he is not fretting about limited preparation Thursday’s derby at Leeds Rhinos.
Bill Tupou. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.Bill Tupou. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Bill Tupou. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Wakefield have been given just three full days - one fewer than their opponents - to recover and get ready for what is officially their home game, following a 36-0 loss at Warrington on Sunday.

Before coronavirus struck teams were allowed at least a five-day gap between matches, so sides playing on a Sunday would not be back in action until the following Friday at the earliest. But with 15 full rounds, plus catch-up games, to fit in between the start of August and mid-November, that restriction has been lifted.

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Weary Trinity lost centre Bill Tupou (head) and on-loan Huddersfield Giants winger Innes Senior (ankle) during the defeat by Warrington, but Chester - who will name an initial 21-man squad on Tuesday - stressed he already had a plan in place.

Innes Senior. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.Innes Senior. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Innes Senior. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“We haven’t any time to dwell on it,” he said of Trinity’s fourth straight Betfred Super League loss and their second successive shutout. "We have another game on Thursday against our local rivals and the games are going to come thick and fast. I am not overly concerned about the turnaround, to be honest - I kind of picked two teams anyway. We left some guys on the sideline for a reason - Craig Kopckak, George King, Josh Wood, Adam Tangata - and they will all play on Thursday night.

“We have got Reece Lyne back from his suspension and then we are just going to have to see how bad the injuries are.”

Though Lyne is back in the mix after a two-game ban and Ben Jones-Bishop could come into contention for the first time this season, wing and centre are two concerns. Tupou failed a head test during the game at Warrington which rules him out of Thursday and Senior, brought in two weeks ago because of Wakefield’s injury situation, is also unlikely to feature.

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Tom Johnstone, Lee Kershaw and Joe Arundel remain on the casualty list and Chester admitted: “We are really running out of outside-backs at the moment. Bish [Jones-Bishop] has only had two sessions with us, but we might have to throw him in on Thursday.”

Ben Jones-Bishop scores against Rhinos last season. Picture by Alex Whitehead SWpix.comBen Jones-Bishop scores against Rhinos last season. Picture by Alex Whitehead SWpix.com
Ben Jones-Bishop scores against Rhinos last season. Picture by Alex Whitehead SWpix.com

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Laura Collins