Wakefield Trinity have the depth to cope with loss of Pauli – Chester

Pauli Pauli
Pauli Pauli

UPBEAT COACH Chris Chester is confident Wakefield Trinity can cope with the loss of giant forward Pauli Pauli.

The Australian prop/second-row suffered damage to a posterior cruciate ligament during the first half of last Saturday’s 16-6 pre-season defeat at Newcastle Thunder and could be out of action for around two months.

Chris Chester

Chris Chester

“It’s not ideal, but he probably wouldn’t have been playing the first couple of weeks anyway,” Chester said.

“There’s still a lot of work to do with Pauli. Obviously with the way the interchanges have gone now [reduced from 10 to eight] I need 17 fit blokes.

“He is a big loss to us, but it’s a position we’ve got quite a bit of cover in – we’ve got Kirmo [Danny Kirmond], we’ve got James Batchelor and Matty Ashurst.

“He does bring some real punch and certainly when he gets fit and the grounds get harder he will be a real force for us.

“We are disappointed for Pauli, but we are hopeful it’ll be six to eight weeks maximum.

“In that respect he’s probably only going to miss four games.”

Prop Craig Huby sat out the 28-24 pre-season win over Huddersfield Giants three days ago, also with a knee problem.

“He is fine,” Chester said. “We did a little bit of training on the 4g pitch [in Newcastle] last week and it flared up.

“He won’t play in round one against London.

“He has got an ongoing knee issue, it swells up and he had a clear-out at the end of last season and a couple of microfractures the season before.

“He is going to be fine, he will be fine for round two and we’ve got some good competition there now.

“It has given me a few sleepless nights, that’s for sure.”

Chester said Trinity came through the game against Huddersfield, played in freezing conditions, with no new fitness concerns.

“Everybody’s fine, we are injury-free,” he confirmed. “I think some players really stood up on Tuesday night and gave me some real food for thought.

“Thirty one into 17 doesn’t go and there’s going to be 14 guys extremely disappointed they are not playing.”