WAKEFIELD TRINITY head coach Chris Chester is relishing the chance to see Australian forward Kelepi Tanginoa make his debut today – less than a week after arriving from Manly Sea Eagles.
The 16-stone second-row is ready to add some ballast to the West Yorkshire club’s top-five push and comes highly-recommended by Michael Monaghan, the former Trinity assistant who now works for NRL club Manly.
Tanginoa is named in the 19-man squad for when they open Magic Weekend in Liverpool against Catalans Dragons.
Chester said: “He will play and it is good to bring him in mid-season. He’s a player I tried signing two years ago when he was at Parramatta and I know he has had limited opportunities at Manly but he comes with a really good reputation.
“I speak to Michael Monaghan quite regularly and he has nothing but good things to say about him.
“Two top-four teams were after him so for us to get his signature is massive for the club.”
Wakefield are desperate to bounce back today after a sobering 42-34 defeat at bottom club London Broncos on Sunday.
It is the second time they have lost at Ealing this season and Chester admitted: “It is important we get some kind of response.
“It was a disappointing result and we were disappointed with the way we performed.
“It is a good game to try and put a few wrongs right.
“It was our physicality we were disappointed with and we are probably coming up against the biggest team in the competition this week.”
Wakefield were third before that defeat but have dropped to sixth after the setback.
Catalans, who were impressive when powering past champions Wigan Warriors in Barcelona, have moved up to third in their place so Chester knows how valuable a win today would be.
Dragons have lost some key players as well with former Australia star Greg Bird and ex-England hooker Michael McIllorum dropping out due to injury.
But Chester realises Steve McNamara’s side are a threat whichever personnel they have in the side.
“Catalans only have one way of playing and that is really direct,” he said.
“They have hit a bit of form, similar to this time last year when they went on and won the Challenge Cup.
“We’ve played them once already and we are expecting another physical game. It is certainly a good game to play after a disappointing loss.”
Wakefield beat Catalans 22-12 at home in February and Matty Ashurst and Anthony England are available again today after injury.
Jordan Crowther and former Dragons back-row Justin Horo –who left the club this week – drop out from Sunday while Danny Kirmond is set for his 200th Super League appearance.
Former England scrum-half Matty Smith, Benjamin Jullien, Alrix Da Costa and Lambert Belmas are drafted into McNamara’s squad.