TONIGHT’S GAME at Widnes Vikings is significant at the bottom of the table, but prop David Fifita says Wakefield Trinity have higher ambitions.
Eight defeats from their last 10 Betfred Super League matches have left Trinity seventh in the table, three points ahead of ninth-placed Huddersfield Giants.
Giants visit Salford Red Devils, who are one place and two points adrift of Trinity, this evening and whatever happens there, if Wakefield lose they will be left uncomfortably close to the bottom four with seven games remaining in the regular season.
Coach Chris Chester described last Sunday’s 25-22 loss to Huddersfield at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle as a missed opportunity and Fifita admitted: “If we’d got that one it would have made a big difference between us and ninth.”
But he stressed: “It doesn’t matter now, we will just look forward – we are still looking up.
“They [Huddersfield] are still behind us and we are not looking down at all.
“We are still looking up and trying to chase down the teams above us.
“We have got the team to do it.”
Trinity were agonisingly close to recording a second successive league victory in the game five days ago, hitting back from 18-0 behind before running out of time.
“Just the first 15-20 minutes let us down,” Fifita reflected.
“We got out of the blocks too late, but it shows the boys have got character, in the second half coming out and putting it all in.
“It was a good effort in the second half and we’ve got to take that into [tonight]. It is a short turnaround, but we’re looking forward to it.
“Probably a lot of penalties cost us in the first bit, but on to Friday now, that’s all we are looking at now.”
Fifita has featured in Wakefield’s last three games after returning from a persistent groin injury. I am getting there,” he said of his comeback. I am playing big minutes, I am happy with my minutes, but I need to get better in shape.
“The injury is not helping, I am still carrying a bit of it, but I am getting there. I’ll put my body on the line, trying to keep that top-eight spot. I know I can improve, so there’s more to come.”
Chris Annakin could return from injury for Trinity tonight and Anthony England is available after illness. Max Jowitt, Tom Johnstone and James Batchelor are in contention for a recall, with Liam Finn, Matty Ashurst and knee-injury victim Craig Huby dropping out.
Joe Arundel, who missed last Sunday’s game after suffering ankle ligament damage in the previous week’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat by Huddersfield, has undergone surgery and will be sidelined for around three months.
“It was unfortunate we lost Anthony England [last week],” Fifita admitted. He was a massive loss for us and he’s also my partner in crime up front, but Keegan Hirst came on and did a good job for us.”
Widnes are without Rhys Hanbury and Jimmy Keinhorst from the team beaten by St Helens last Saturday. Ed Chamberlain, Danny Craven, Owen Farnworth and Tom Gilmore could step in.
Widnes Vikings: from Ah Van, Albert, Burke, Cahill, Chamberlain, J Chapelhow, Craven, Farnworth, Gilmore, Heremaia, J Johnstone, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, Olbison, Runciman, Walker, Whitley, Wilde.
Wakefield Trinity: from Annakin, Arona, Batchelor, Caton-Brown, England, Fifita, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, T Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tupou, Wood.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.