KNOWING London Broncos head coach Danny Ward as he does, Chris Chester realises his Wakefield Trinity side will be in for a stern test during their Super League opener tomorrow.
He was team-mates with Ward at Hull KR in 2007 and has watched from afar as the former Leeds Rhinos prop masterminded London’s surprise promotion.
It was the 38-year-old’s first season as a head coach and, though they finished second in the Championship, they beat two Super League sides in the Qualifiers and went on to stun Toronto Wolfpack in the Million Pound Game in Canada.
“We know it’ll be difficult,” said Chester, ahead of the fixture on Ealing Trailfinders’ 4G pitch.
“They caused some upsets last year in the Middle Eights and Wardy has done a fantastic job with them.
“He is certainly going to have them ready for game one; we’ve just got to make sure we prepare the right way.”
Chester has named a strong squad with new signings Danny Brough, Craig Kopczak and George King all set to debut.
Indeed, such is his depth of player pool, there is no place for experienced forwards Danny Kirmond, Craig Huby and Keegan Hirst or – with Ryan Hampshire preferred – full-back Max Jowitt.
Similarly, Trinity faced the promoted side on opening day 12 months ago when they won 28-6 at Hull KR.
But Chester recalled: “You could tell from the kick-off they were up for it; the scoreline didn’t reflect how close that game was.
“It was nip and tuck until probably the last 10 minutes when we scored a couple of tries.
“London are going to be full of beans and we are playing on a surface we’ve not done a great deal of training on, though we had a couple of days up in Newcastle and used the 4G facility there. The two good years we’ve had should stand us in good stead but we certainly won’t take London lightly.”
Back in Super League for the first time since 2014, Broncos include new signings Luke Yates, Ryan Morgan, Nathan Mason, Greg Richards and Matty Fozard in their 19-man squad.
Trinity’s Michael Carter: Page 10