WAKEFIELD Trinity head coach Chris Chester has told his side to “take the emotion” out of Hull KR’s Super League comeback in order to ruin his former club’s triumphant return.
The West Yorkshire outfit travel to East Hull tonight for their season opener and the Robins’ first game back in the elite after 12 months in the Championship.
Chester, of course, was sacked by Rovers after just three games of the 2016 campaign but they were still infamously relegated in the Million Pound Game.
He has excelled with Wakefield, though, taking them to a Challenge Cup semi-final and then, last year, almost claiming a top-four spot.
But Chester told The Yorkshire Post: “I’m delighted Hull Kingston Rovers are back up.
“I was massively disappointed when they went down and devastated for those involved like the chairman, vice-chairman and CEO, all whom I still speak to.
“But everyone wants Hull KR back in Super League so, it’s great to see them and their fans back.
“There will be a lot of emotion over there on Friday – 9,000 Rovers fans and another 1,000 of ours – and it’s up to us to try take that out of it and start really strong.”
Chester knows just what it will be like for the Hull KR players as they step out tonight; he joined after their promotion in 2006, switching from Hull FC, so duly played in their inaugural Super League match.
Ironically, that was against Trinity, too, and also at Craven Park, as Rovers prospered 14-9 amid memorable scenes in 2007.
Although many are tipping them to struggle now, Chester reckons they are going to be competitive under former Australia coach Tim Sheens.
“They have recruited well and did the majority of their business during last season bringing in Mose Masoe, Justin Carney and players like that,” he said.
“They have a shrewd coach and are always difficult to beat at home.
“But we’ve prepared well ourselves; I think it’ll be an entertaining game and a great way to start the campaign.”
Wakefield’s preparations have, indeed, gone so well that Chester conceded he has faced some difficult selection decisions given the strength of his own squad.
“We’ve only got Tyler Randell and Craig Huby missing,” he said.
“Craig could have played at a push but we’ll give him another week as he comes back from a nasty operation.
“I’ve had three or four tough calls during the week, though.
“One was at centre where I’ve left Joe Arundel out and not because he’s done anything wrong.
“He’s gone well in pre-season but I just went with the other two (Bill Tupou and Reece Lyne) and a bit more size in terms of coming up against Carney on that right edge. It’s also been hard with the wing spot between Mason Caton-Brown and Tom Johnstone.
“I won’t say which way I’ve gone there, but there’s 27 guys all thinking they should be playing.
“Those that have missed out have taken it well. We’ve no sulkers here.
“They are disappointed but there’s a fine line between being disappointed and sulking.
“They’ve all got on with things and got behind the team – and I’m hoping we’re making the right decisions as it has been real tough.”