CHRIS CHESTER praised the “guts” of his Wakefield Trinity Wildcats side as they secured a rare appearance in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-finals.
They won 28-16 at Huddersfield Giants last night to reach the last-four for the first time in eight years.
The West Yorkshire club will now look to push on and reach Wembley for the first time since 1979.
Wakefield, despite missing a raft of regulars, led 26-8 just before the hour mark and held off Huddersfield’s late rally at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“I thought it was a very gutsy performance tonight,” said Chester.
“We started the game really, really well, were very dominant for that first 20 minutes and, though we seemed to lose our way at the end of the first half, we came out strong again at the start of the second and proved dominant.”
It continues a remarkable story for Chester who was sacked at Hull KR in February but quickly took over at last season’s bottom club and taken them up to sixth and just 80 minutes from Wembley.
“If you’d have said that back then, I’d have snapped your hands off and been delighted,” he said, when asked if he can believe the turnaround.
“We’ve shown again tonight we’re a really good team not just with the ball but defensively as well.
“I felt we showed some real good patience and resilience defending our line, defensively we were very good and the middles really got us on the front foot, too.
“Big Dave Fifita had an outstanding game for us as did plenty of other guys.”
Australian prop Fifita scored two tries in only his second game since joining from Cronulla Sharks.
He had a mixed debut in the 32-6 defeat against Leeds Rhinos when yellow carded for retaliation after a series of handling errors.
“He copped a little bit of criticism last week but we’ve seen him tonight and he’s a handful for any team,” explained Chester.
“He just needs some dry weather.
“He’s a big bloke, a fast bloke when he gets through and that’s why we signed him,” Chester added.
“I knew what a good player he’d be and knew he’d only get better.”