COMMENT: The right decision for Chris Chester to leave Wakefield Trinity.

Although the timing of Chris Chester’s sacking at Wakefield Trinity came as a surprise, there can be no real complaints about the decision to part ways.

Clearly, the 42-year-old has done well at times during his reign at the club he supported as a boy, including taking them to their highest Super League finish of fifth in 2017 and developing a raft of emerging Academy talent.

Undoubtedly, Chester has always cared deeply about the job in hand, working diligently in often trying circumstances given Trinity are one of the lowest-spending clubs in the competition.

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Moreover, from a media point of view, he has always been forthcoming, giving of his time and an honest talker. Perhaps too honest on occasions.

However, his record in more recent times speaks of a club in urgent need of a new voice at the top.

Having only avoided relegation on the last night in 2019, they endured a torrid time for much of last season when finishing second bottom and matters have not improved this term where only Leigh Centurions sit below them.

Four wins from 17 outings is simply not good enough although there is mitigation there as chief executive Michael Carter outlined yesterday.

Plenty of times this term, Trinity could have looked to hide behind the Covid-19 fixture protocols and postponed games rather than push on and play.

Former Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester with fans at Belle Vue. (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

Often they did manage to fulfil fixtures, doing their bit to help maintain the integrity of the competition, but with a weakened side some of the results were inevitable.

That said, they fielded a strong squad at Huddersfield Giants on Sunday and there was simply no excuse for blowing an 18-0 lead in the manner in which they did.

That was ludicrous. It was also a fifth straight loss but Chester still probably did not fear the chop; out of contract at the end of this season, he had just recently verbally agreed a deal for 2022.

But in a change of heart which illustrates they probably always had reservations, Wakefield decided enough was enough and fired him yesterday, Carter insisting he feels Chester understood the reasoning.

Former Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

In many ways, it is a shame Trinity could not have simply seen the season out with him still at the helm before a natural parting of the ways.

However, with seven games still remaining, there was an obvious danger the confidence-drained side could have freefallen into an abyss like last term when they suffered a ten-game losing run before eventually rallying.

Chester publicly slated his players after Sunday’s 22-18 defeat, too, which is always a dangerous tactic.

Saying some simply weren’t good enough may be true but he did likewise last season after a 48-6 loss against St Helens and, inevitably, focus will eventually turn on the coach’s own credentials.

Wakefield Trinity's Joe Westerman and David Fifita after defeat against Huddersfield Giants on Sunday. (PAUL CURRIE/SWPIX)

Chester signed these players and awarded many of them new deals so he, too, has to take some responsibility for their failures.

Unfortunately, it has become commonplace that when the going gets tough, Trinity tend to go soft and they need to find some steel quickly.

One of Chester’s assistants - Willie Poching - now gets a chance to step in and show what he can do as the club assess their options although Sunday’s visit of Warrington Wolves is an invidious opening examination.

Poching, already a club legend following the Kiwi’s playing exploits at Belle Vue between 1999 and 2001, has certainly served his apprenticeship as an assistant.

The 47-year-old has worked in that role at Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Salford Red Devils, Hull KR and Trinity; if ever he is going to make the transition to the top job, this is it.

Obviously, there will be plenty of interest in the vacancy even given, as Carter described, it must feel like coaching with both hands tied behind your back at Belle Vue given, since his appointment in March 2016, Chester was never given opportunity to spend near the full salary cap.

Willie Poching in his playing days for Wakefield Trinity. He is now interim head coach. (BEN DUFFY/SWPIX)

Chester’s other assistant Andy Last does have experience of running a Super League side after his spell in charge at Hull FC last term but he is widely tipped to follow his former Airlie Birds boss Lee Radford to Castleford Tigers next term.

Poaching gets first shot and everyone will wish him well.

Similarly, Chester has certainly earned a rest from the pressures and spotlight - many fans had long since turned on him - and hopefully, at some point, he can return to a coaching role refreshed and reinvigorated.