Joe Westerman says Wakefield Trinity have “enough quality” to challenge

ALTHOUGH the squad that struggled for so long last season has hardly changed, loose forward Joe Westerman believes Wakefield Trinity will be ready to react positively in 2021.

Joe Westerman: Is anticipating a better second season with Wakefield. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe_)

At one point, Chris Chester’s side lost 10 successive games and looked badly out of sorts before a late flourish of three wins in their last four fixtures.

As they start preparations for the new campaign, a raft of experienced players such as Danny Brough, Craig Kopczak, Danny Kirmond and Ryan Atkins have all moved on while France international Tony Gigot also recently left by mutual consent.

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Coming the other way, Trinity have, so far, only brought in Newcastle Knights half-back Mason Lino – that position was Chester’s main priority – but ex-Hull FC star Westerman feels they are still well-equipped for 2021.

“I do think we’ll do well this season,” said the former England international, with Wakefield having come 10th.

“Pre-season has started really well. Lino has just arrived so we’ll see how he is and I’d like to think, if we can avoid injuries, we’ve got enough quality on the field to be challenging that top five, top six.

“From my point of view – and the team’s – I’d like to think we’ll have a lot better season than last year. I feel you can almost write last season off; you had all the Covid issues, players who were off for four weeks and back for three and there was just no routine to any of it.

“You can’t read too much into last year. But if we hit the ground running this time and hopefully we’re in a position where we can play with no – or fewer – worries about Covid, I’m pretty confident we’ll be looking towards that top end.

Wakefield's Joe Westerman. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe )

“(Assistant) Andy Last has come in and brought his knowledge and with Willie Poching coming in, too, with Chezzy it’s like a new coaching staff.”

The former Castleford Tigers star, 31, had hit some form of his own as last season ended, his first year at Belle Vue following a second stint at Hull.

Chester will be keen to make the most of his talents as Trinity seek to address some of the wrongs of last year, not least when the coach called into question the attitude of some of his squad.

Former Warrintgon Wolves forward Westerman has operated at the highest level, playing in Challenge Cup and Grand Finals as well as representing England in 2014.

“I’m feeling pretty good at the minute which is always a good sign in pre-season,” he added.

“After last year and only playing 17 games, I am looking forward to getting back out and cracking on.

“It was very strange last season. I felt like I could have carried on for another 20 games. I did feel good.

“I was really enjoying it as well and felt like I was back to my old days. I played a bit of back-row and got a bit giddy at times!

“I’m looking forward to getting back and picking up from where I left off.”

The season is due to start on March 11 although, with the country in a national lockdown once more due to Covid, it is likely that could be put back further.

Super League do not have much room to manerouvre given the 2021 World Cup is scheduled for the end of the season.

Scrapping Magic Weekend could be an option if the start is delayed by another week or two.

Super League meet this week to discuss the options with one positive of delaying kick-off being creating more scope for the crucial eventual return of crowds.

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