A SMARTER – and more patient – performance is needed if Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are to shock Challenge Cup winners Hull tonight.
Wakefield’s final home game of 2016 comes six days after they dominated against Catalans Dragons, but failed to apply the killer touch.
Trinity have just two chances left to pick up a win in the First Utility Super-8s and coach Chris Chester reckons they can break their duck, if they show more self-belief.
Wakefield are on a six-match losing run and Chester said: “We are a team that’s very low on confidence at the minute. Looking at all the stats from last week’s game, we should have beaten them by 20 points.
“Possession was 75-25 in our favour in the second half and the majority of that was in their 10. Credit to Catalans’ defence, I am not taking anything away from their defensive effort, but we weren’t very good in what we did with the ball. We dropped it over the line three or four times, we had a try disallowed and we threw the ball into touch twice with a two- or three-on-one overlap. We didn’t get beaten on effort, but we have got to be a bit smarter. We created nine or 10 opportunities, but only scored from two of them.
“We’ve also got to have more patience. This game is all about building pressure and trying to get repeat sets.”
Hull are one of only three top-flight teams – along with Castleford Tigers and next week’s opponents St Helens – Wakefield have not beaten this year.
“We are looking forward to it,” Chester said of tonight’s Sky-televised clash.
“They have got everything to play for. They want to try and win the league leaders’ shield.
“I think last week [a defeat to Wigan] will have had a big effect on that, but they will want to finish as high as possible and I am sure they will bring a few thousand fans with them.”
Wakefield will be without play-maker Jacob Miller, but Chester said that is a challenge for Craig Hall who will step up into the role in his final home game before joining Toronto Wolfpack.
“Milky [Miller] is going to go for an operation now,” Chester said. “He is done for the year.
“He has needed a shoulder operation for four or five weeks, but he wanted to play as long as possible.
“It has got to the point where the pain has become unbearable, but it will give Craig Hall an opportunity to play half-back.
“It will be good experience for him playing there against top-quality opposition.”
England academy forward James Batchelor replaces Miller in the only change to last week’s initial 19-man squad.
Joe Arundel and Andy Yates were the unused players against Catalans.
Hull could recall former Wakefield forward Danny Washbrook.
Iafeta Palea’esina, Curtis Naughton and Chris Green are also in contention for the Cherry and Whites, but Mark Minichiello and Frank Pritchard drop out due to injury.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Anderson, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Batchelor, Fifita, Finn, Hall, Harrison, Johnstone, Jowitt, Lyne, Molloy, Scruton, Simon, Sio, A Tupou, B Tupou, Yates.
Hull: from Shaul, Fonua, Tuimavave, Talanoa, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Paleaaesina, Green, Thompson, Hadley, Michaels, Naughton, Manu, Bowden, Yeaman, Washbrook.
Referee: Chris Campbell (Widnes).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.