Wakefield Trinity play on as they are not worried about "protecting image and egos"

Defiant Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester says they will put their suspension fury behind them and crack on against Salford Red Devils as they are not “one of those clubs that will protect image and egos.”

He says they have 14 players missing for tomorrow’s Super League contest after Ryan Hampshire and Joe Arundel were both handed one-game bans for late hits in Friday’s loss against St Helens.

Those decisions from the RFL match review panel prompted Trinity chief executive Michael Carter to issue a strong statement last night bemoaning the fact players had been banned on “random” charges.

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With numerous Super League games being called off due - in part - to a rise in Covid infections, clubs are already finding life difficult.

Chester said: “You’re talking point two or point three of a split second where Rocky Hampshire hit (Jonny) Lomax.

“He hit Lomax less than a quarter of a second after Jonny passed the ball. I’m in the coaches meetings and I’m all for sorting out late hits on players but what I will say if that’s a front-row forward and that tackle happens where it happens I don’t think we’d be having that conversation.

“I don’t think he would be up before the judiciary. I’m just really disappointed with the process.

“We thought we had a real strong case but as with the judiciary you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. That’s how it works.”

Wakefield Trinity boss Chris Chester, left, with Willie Poching. (SWPIX)
Wakefield Trinity boss Chris Chester, left, with Willie Poching. (SWPIX)

Wakefield have drafted youngsters Ollie Greensmith, Pat O’Donovan - both of whom could debut - and Harry Bowes into their squad for tomorrow’s rearranged game.

Asked what it has been like raising a side, Chester added: “It’s really hard.

“But we’re one of the clubs that’s got an academy.

“We’re not one of those clubs that will protect the image and protect egos; we'll put out a team that’s going to be competitive and play some young kids. We’ve got to do.

“It’s really difficult. We’ve got two more on top of 11 we’ve got out plus Kyle Wood to Covid, it’s hard work even for a team like us that’s got a squad of 30/31 players.

“Things are hard enough as it is. What’s disappointing more than anything - I’ve tried to get a reply or answer on this - is the video had been viewed by the panel before we’d even gone into the meeting.

“The way the game is and teams are struggling to get players out onto the pitch, I do think the game is in a mess at this moment.

“We’ve not heard from the CEO of the Rugby Football League or the chairman of Super League and after what’s gone on over the last three or four weeks it's just not acceptable. We know that.

“Everybody else knows that. I do really fear for the game moving forward. I think there’s a distinct lack of leadership.”

Salford had seen two games - against Wakefield and Hull FC - postponed under the Covid-19 protocols due to Covid in their camp but returned to action with a 70-18 win at under-strength Castleford Tigers on Sunday.

The Trinity game has been rearranged to take place at Halliwell Jones Stadium and Salford have included their recent signing, the Tongan half-back Ata Hingano, in their squad as well as the returning Tui Lolohea, Joe Burgess, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Sam Luckley.

“Just looking at the squad, it’s totally different to the one that got announced a couple of weeks ago when we went to play them,” said Chester.

“That’s probably for another time. But we’re going there to win.

“We’ll use the motivation of the last couple of weeks and what our CEO said last night and use that as motivation and make sure we go out and get a result.”

Of the three youngsters, Chester added: “Two out of the three will play and maybe a potential third one.

“It’s a great opportunity for these young kids. Harry Bowes played exceptionally well in the 19s.

“It’s been really difficult. He’s not been able to train with the first-team for the last month just because the 19s - when Harry played - caught some Covid cases so we’ve had two separate bubbles and we’ve had to separate Harry, Pat and those guys from first-team training.

“He’s had a team run with us this morning and he’s trained really well.

“It’s a great opportunity. We’ll start to see the fruition of our academy in the next few years with these young kids.”