WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats boss Chris Chester will lead his side into today’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves believing lightning can strike twice.
Chester was in charge of Hull KR when they stunned Warrington 26-18 in a Challenge Cup semi-final 12 months ago.
Victory for Wakefield at Leigh Sports Village today would create a similar shock and Chester is hoping to put last year’s experience to good use.
Like Wakefield this time, Hull KR were without key players due to injury, coming off the back of a Super League defeat and went into the tie as underdogs.
Chester said: “That is certainly something I will be speaking to the guys about.
“We went into the semi-final last year on the back of a big loss against Saints the previous week and Warrington won the week before the Cup, like they have done this year.
“It is a one-off game and it is just who turns up on the day. We want to give a really good account of ourselves and we’re confident we can bounce back from a disappointing result [against Castleford] at the weekend.”
Chester knows Warrington will also be keen to learn from last year’s mistakes.
He added: “I am sure Tony [Wolves’ coach Tony Smith] will have discussed the semi-final last year, but I am not too worried about Warrington.
“I am worried about getting 17 fit players out on the field and giving this semi-final a real go.”
Warrington won the Challenge Cup in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and have been beaten semi-finalists in each of the past three seasons.
They have the overwhelming advantage in terms of big-game experience, but Chester is confident his players can cope. It is Wakefield’s first semi-final since 2008, and Chester said: “We’ll try and keep things as lowkey as possible.
“I have let the players know I’ll do all the talking leading up to the game,. All they have to do is concentrate on putting a performance in.
“We will keep nice and relaxed going into it. We will go there as underdogs and there’s no real pressure on us.
“We are really looking forward to it and who knows what can happen in the 80 minutes?”
Whatever today’s result, it has already been a successful season for Trinity, who have qualified for the Super-8s and secured their top-flight status with seven games in hand.
“It is a great achievement by everybody,” said Chester, who joined Wildcats at Easter when they were bottom of Super League.
“If somebody had told me when I took over we’d finish in the eight and get into a semi-final I’d have snapped their hand off.
“We have got into the eight and got into a semi-final and we want to go all the way. We know how big a test Warrington are going to be, but the pressure is off now.
“We can just enjoy playing footy and we will enjoy Saturday. We’ve got a great following going over to watch us and it will be a great spectacle.”