THERE will be a new look to Wakefield Trinity’s side when they take on visitors Hull tomorrow and coach Chris Chester is confident fresh faces can bring about a change in fortunes.
Wakefield, who rose as high as third in Super League during the first half of the season, began round 25 in ninth place, only two points above bottom club London Broncos.
Injuries have played a large part in their slump and Chester admits he has, at times, been forced to field anyone who is fit, regardless of form.
However, this week Trinity have brought in Wigan Warriors back Morgan Escare, Hull prop forward Chris Green and Halifax front-row Adam Tangata, all on loan until the end of the season.
Hull will not allow Green to play against them tomorrow, but Chester confirmed both Escare and Tangata will be in his 17 and he believes that will provide a much-needed boost.
Tangata has been added to provide some “aggression in the middle of the park” and Chester is impressed with what he has seen of Escare in practice this week.
He said: “Morgan has been fantastic in training.
“He is the quickest player I have ever seen and I am looking forward to seeing him out there on the field. He has fitted in really well and it is exciting to watch him.
“We have worked hard with him on our defensive structures and he will definitely play, though I don’t know yet if he’ll be at wing or full-back.”
That versatility – and two extra bodies – “gives me some options”, Chester added.
“Up to now all we’ve been able to do is pick the same players week-in, week-out, but we’ve had 29 out there training, with five of the under-19s,” he said.
“It is the first time in about six weeks we’ve been able to do any kind of 13 on 13 and the intensity in training has gone up 10-fold.
“It was important we brought some bodies in to freshen everything up and give me a couple more headaches.
“I am pretty sure all three of the loan signings will improve our team.
“They are going to push the players in the squad.
“There will be a few players looking over their shoulder and that’s how it should be.
“That’s what training is all about, you want players pushing other players and because of the situation we’ve been in, we haven’t had that.
“For the last 10 or 12 weeks we’ve not been able to get any bodies out on the training field.
“We’ve had nine versus seven or eight v seven and what can you do with limited numbers?
“On Thursday, with 29 out there, we had a full-on game for 30 minutes, 15 minutes each half.
“Having those three guys pushing people like Dave Fifita, Anthony England and George King, that keeps them on their toes and that has been a big difference.”
There were signs of improvement from Trinity last weekend, despite the 26-6 scoreline at league leaders St Helens, but Chester’s side face arguably the toughest run-in or all the teams in relegation danger.
They visit Hull KR next week before home games against Wigan and London either side of a trip to Warrington Wolves.
A win tomorrow would not make them safe, but it would lift some of the pressure.
“I am confident,” insisted Chester of his team’s prospects over the crucial final few weeks of the campaign.
“My job is to make sure the guys are confident, keep the pressure away from them and make sure they know they are a good side and things will turn.
“Hopefully, that will happen this weekend. It is a big game for us and a game we need to win.”
Hull are also in need of points, to cement their place in the top-three and keep alive hopes of catching second-placed Warrington.
“We have put a big emphasis on their back-five, I think that is where the threat is,” said Chester of tomorrow’s opponents.
“I have been impressed with both their wingers this year, Ratu Naulago on the right and Bureta Faraimo on the left are really strong carriers of the ball and they have got Josh Griffin and Carlos Tuimavave playing well in the centres and some steady halves as well.
“The key focus for us has been trying to manage the back-field runs from those big guys.
“Our kicking game has got to improve from what we dished up against St Helens and we have got to make sure we do a really good job on plays one, two and three.
“If we do that against those two big wingers and the centres, that goes a long way to winning the game.”
But Chester knows that is not the only challenge Wakefield will face.
“They have got quality right across the park,” he added.
“We have had a focus on making sure we finish our sets well and turn the ball over in certain areas to try and negate their back-three and stop them making metres down the field. It is easy talking about it, but doing it on the weekend is a different thing and the proof is in the pudding.”