Wakefield Trinity v Catalans Dragons: '˜Cheeky' request to get back two lost points fails
They host in-form Catalans Dragons tonight for an intriguing contest that could have sizeable ramifications throughout the Super League table.
If Wakefield prosper they will get to within two points of Hull FC in fifth; it they lose, they are dragged back into the battle to avoid the Qualifiers and the French side – bottom in May – will be level with them in sixth.
None of that is lost on Chester who, at the same time, knows his side should, realistically, have completed a brilliant league double on leaders Saints only to controversially lose 34-30.
Some of referee James Child’s calls are what proved the subject of his aforementioned discussion with Ganson earlier this week.
“I was really pleased and proud of the efforts but, obviously, it was disappointing to lose like we did,” Chester told The Yorkshire Post.
“Having spoken to (refs boss) Steve Ganson, there was a couple of tries there that shouldn’t have been allowed – a double-movement and an obstruction from the kick and obviously James Batchelor’s penalty try.
“That’s a big 18 point swing. I don’t want to harp on about referees and you can cop one bad call but there’s three tough ones on the team there.
“I had a long debate with Steve, a good chat with him and I got a lot of things off my chest.
“On the whole I thought the referee reffed the game pretty well – the rucks were pretty consistent – but you’ve just got to get those decisions right haven’t you?
“They had a massive impact on the game considering we only lost it by four points.
“I don’t want them to be hung out to dry – I know James (Child) has a Championship game this week – but there’s not a great deal you can do. Steve’s spoken about accountability among the referees and that’s all well and good but at the end of the day it’s cost us two points.
“They can’t give us the two points back. Although cheekily I did ask for those two. They have to get them right especially with a video camera there.
“But we’ve moved on and we know we needed to be better as well defensively. We’re just thinking about Catalans now,”
And there is plenty to think about. Steve McNamara’s side were nothing short of shambolic earlier in the year and, in many regards, even quite fortunate to get past League 1 part-timers York City Knights in the Challenge Cup let alone challenge in Super League. However, the former England coach has overseen a stunning turnaround and they arrive in West Yorkshire having won seven of their last eight games in all competitions.
The one match they did lose was only by a solitary point at Huddersfield Giants and, in the meantime, they have reached the Challenge Cup semi-finals and also, perhaps most impressively, vanquished Castleford Tigers 44-16 in Perpignan just a week ago.
“They have been very impressive,” conceded Chester, whose side have won the last three meetings including a 16-14 success in France in February.
“They certainly look like they’re running harder than what they were at the start of the year.
“They have a massive pack, Mickael Simon’s going great, Remi Casty’s playing as well as I’ve seen him play in a long time and they have made some real shrewd signings with Kenny Edwards and Josh Drinkwater who’s kicking the ball very, very well.
“It’s going to be tough but we have a good record down here where we’ve only been beaten twice this season. We’re hoping to keep hold of that record.”
Wakefield do have some issues, however, with illness spreading through their camp this week.
Prop Keegan Hirst did not train yesterday and is a potential casualty so Jordan Crowther is on standby and Trinity are expecting to recall Jordan Baldwinson from his loan spell at Leigh Centurions for next week’s derby at struggling champions Leeds.
James Batchelor and Joe Arundel could also return then and, with just four rounds remaining, Chester appreciates how delicate that table situation is.
“That result on Thursday night, Huddersfield beating Hull, means win the next two games and we could potentially go to fifth next week,” he said.
“It can go either way. It’s what this comp’ is all about; there’s a lot of big games to be played between now and round 23.
“But I’ve said for the last three weeks we’re in a good spot. We’re looking up. A good result puts us five in front of Leeds with a much better for and against and two behind Hull in fifth.”