IT appears to be mission impossible, but Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach James Webster is taking a far from defeatist attitude into tonight’s fixture at Wigan Warriors.
Neither side is in good form and both have injuries to key players, but Wigan’s greater resources mean it is Webster’s side who will start as distant outsiders.
After an impressive opening to the campaign, which saw them triumph at Castleford Tigers in round one and then overwhelm Hull KR the following week, the wheels came off Trinity’s bandwagon at the start of this month and they will enter DW Stadium on a run of four successive defeats and sitting rock bottom of the Super League table.
To add to Wakefield’s woes, a mounting injury list has now claimed captain Danny Kirmond and former Wigan scrum-half Tim Smith, the player who makes them tick on attack.
It would be easy for Webster to write off tonight’s game as a damage-limitation exercise, but he remains convinced Wakefield have got what is required to add to Wigan’s disappointing start to the campaign, whoever takes to the field.
“We will do our best and we think we can go there and get a result,” said Webster. “If we can improve on what we did last week we will give ourselves a chance.”
The 44-14 loss at home to Huddersfield Giants five days ago illustrated the inconsistency which has plagued Trinity this year.
They trailed 18-0 inside nine minutes, hit back to within four points soon after the interval and looked to have enough momentum to go on and win the game. But a series of errors with the ball handed the advantage back to Huddersfield and Wakefield’s defence collapsed under pressure.
“They deserved to win, but we gifted them some tries and the scoreline probably looks a bit worse on us than it actually was,” added Webster.
“If we can be better for longer, we will be in with a chance. Somehow we need to do that. We have shown at our best we are able to match teams, but the best teams can do it for longer. It is up to us to get to that level.”
An inability to control the ball has been at the heart of Wakefield’s slump in form and Webster admitted if they give Wigan the majority of possession tonight, it will be a long 80 minutes.
“Mistakes are killing us,” he said. “I think the highest completion rate we’ve had this year was 70 per cent, in round one. We have had a massive problem being able to create pressure for long enough because we’ve not been able to hold onto the ball.”
The absence of Smith and Kirmond – joining a casualty list which already includes Reece Lyne, Scott Anderson, Pita Godinet, Matty Ashurst, Lopini Paea, Ian Kirke and Chris Annakin – has made a difficult challenge that bit tougher, but Webster insisted: “It gives us a good opportunity to give a run out to some of the younger players again. We go to Wigan with a mindset that we are still looking at getting a result.”