COACH CHRIS Chester admits some of his Wakefield Trinity players are “hanging on by a thread”.
The 10-0 home loss to Leeds Rhinos on Friday night was Trinity’s fourth successive defeat in league and cup and to add to their woes, two more players joined their lengthy casualty list.
The number of players out is putting added pressure on those still fit and available and James Batchelor and Matty Ashurst are in doubt for Sunday’s game at Salford Red Devils after aggravating injuries against Leeds.
“They are not good,” Chester confirmed. “Batch has come back from a hamstring and it looks like he has come back maybe a week too early, even though we were informed he was going to be okay. Matty has had a bad back since Easter. We’ve just got no bodies – that’s the be-all and end-all.”
Chester revealed: “Matty is not training during the week, Batch didn’t train during the week, Broughy (Danny Brough) didn’t train during the week.
“There’s probably five or six that are hanging on by a thread.
“Until we get some bodies back it is going to be a fight for these next two or three weeks.”
Wakefield are sixth in the Betfred Super League table, one place and two points ahead of Salford.
Chester knows the importance of Sunday’s match and he insisted: “Every game now is like a cup final.
“We just need a bit of luck and some guys back out on the training field and on the paddock at the weekends. When we get that we will be okay, but it is tough. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t lose track of the teams above us. We have got some important weeks coming up.”
Man of Steel contender David Fifita was unavailable for the second successive game due to a foot injury and Chester added: “It is a matter of getting big Dave back and Bill Tupou back and a few other guys and we will be okay.
“I am hoping Dave will be back this week but he can’t run at the moment. Potentially Bill Tupou might be back, but Joe Arundel has had a bit of a setback.
“The surgeon won’t let him do any contact until the nine or 10-week mark and we are only six weeks there, even though he’s training the house down.
“Chubbs (Craig Huby) is miles off.”
The decisive moment in last Friday’s game came 16 minutes after the break when Trinity’s recent signing Kelepi Tanginoa burst clear with Ryan Hampshire in support, but his pass was intercepted by Tui Lolohea who counter-attacked to score the night’s only try.
A Wakefield touchdown would have levelled the scores at 4-4 with a conversion to come, but instead they trailed 8-0. Chester reflected: “That was a tough one, but I am not blaming Kelepi. I thought he was outstanding. He had to play 80 minutes, playing front-row, then he had to go in the back-row For him to play 80 minutes was a fair effort.”
Chester was also impressed with 18-year-old centre Jack Croft. It was his first Super League appearance, six days after making a try-scoring debut in the Coral Challenge Cup defeat at St Helens.
“He was good again,” enthused his coach. “He came up with a really special tackle on Kallum Watkins, that took some doing.”