Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Trinity: Securing top-eight spot within touching distance for Wakefield

Ryan Hampshire will switch to half-back when Wakefield face Leeds on Friday night. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Ryan Hampshire will switch to half-back when Wakefield face Leeds on Friday night. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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confident Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester expects a “reaction” tonight as his side face West Yorkshire rivals Leeds Rhinos.

Trinity were particularly disappointing during a below-par performance in Saturday’s 35-18 home defeat to Catalans Dragons.

CONFIDENT: Wakefield head coach Chris Chester.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

CONFIDENT: Wakefield head coach Chris Chester.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

That left them rooted in sixth-place, eight points adrift of the top-four but also in danger of still being dragged into the Qualifiers.

But Chester said: “My job’s been pretty easy this week.

“The guys know where they went wrong last Saturday.

“Collectively we got a lot of things wrong during the week and just didn’t perform.

It’s an important result for the group and we know a win against Leeds will secure a place in the top-eight and cement our spot in sixth.

Chris Chester

“We’re looking to get a result now.

“We’re looking for a reaction.

“It’s an important result for the group and we know a win against Leeds will secure a place in the top-eight and cement our spot in sixth.”

Rhinos, of course, are in dire straits after eight successive league defeats, Kevin Sinfield returning to the club last week as director of rugby in order to try and stem the tide.

“We had a real close game last time,” said Chester, Trinity losing 28-26 at Belle Vue in early April.

“They’re on bit of a losing streak but barring last week’s performance we’ve been playing pretty well.

“That was just a little blip. It is a great appointment (Sinfield) but I’m not too worried about the Leeds club.

“I’m just focused on making sure we get the right result. That then consolidates us and secures us a Super 8s spot for a third consecutive season.

“We want to make sure we get that job done on Friday and then build some momentum into the Super 8s; we can’t afford to slip-up anymore as we’ll lose ground on the top five.”

Chester confirmed Ryan Hampshire will switch to half-back with Liam Finn dropping out and fit-again Max Jowitt returning at full-back.

Back-row James Batchelor failed his ‘head’ test yesterday but has another chance to pass it today and, if he does, he will return for the visitors.