St Helens v Wakefield: Optimistic Webster still eyes top eight spot for Wildcats

AVOIDING relegation would signify a “good year” for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

Wakefield coach James Webster.

This is the honest assessment of head coach James Webster as they prepare to visit Super League champions St Helens tonight.

They are already four points adrift at the foot of the table and face a 10th successive defeat unless they can produce a major surprise.

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Webster acknowledges his team are destined for the Qualifiers where the division’s bottom four take on the Championship’s leading quartet and, subsequently, the best four then end up playing Super League in 2016.

“Staying in Super League would be a good year,” he said.

“That is a good year at Wakefield every year and that will continue until the day commercially we can compete with other teams.

“We definitely haven’t given up hope of this being a good year. We wanted to be safe as early as possible, to recruit for next year.

“That’s probably not going to be the case, but we want to finish the year strongly.

“If somehow we do get into the top eight that will be great, but if not we are prepared to train and play hard in the second one to make sure we get what we want.”

St Helens are probably the last team Wakefield want to face now, but Webster maintained: “We aren’t going there thinking we’ve no chance.

“We are looking to try and improve and build some momentum. If we can add 20 per cent to last week (a 42-20 loss to Wigan Warriors), we are starting to get close.”

Meanwhile, Saints have signed former Hull KR and Hull FC full-back Shannon McDonnell until the end of 2016

The Australian, 27, had a brief spell with them towards the end of last season and re-joins from Wests Tigers.

His signing came 24 hours after Kiwi star Lance Hohaia, 32, announced his immediate retirement due to “recurrent post-match concussion-type symptoms” after being infamously knocked out by Ben Flower in the 2014 Grand Final.

Two of Hohaia’s eight appearances this season were made at full-back in the absence of Jonny Lomax, who is out for the season with a knee injury, and veteran Paul Wellens, who is currently sidelined with a hip problem.