DISAPPOINTMENT tinged with pride was coach Chris Chester’s reaction after Wakefield Trinity finished fifth in the Super League table.
Trinity went into the final round of the regular season knowing a win over St Helens would secure third place and they could lose by up to 14 points and remain fourth, ahead of Salford Red Devils on points difference.
Wakefield were only 10 points behind after 70 minutes, but Saints’ strong finish saw them run out 41-16 winners.
Wakefield finished fifth and will have only three home games in the Super-8s, plus four away fixtures.
“We’re bitterly disappointed,” Chester said afterwards.
“We are hurting a bit, but I am also proud of this group of players.
“They have achieved what people thought we couldn’t achieve this year, by getting into the top-six.
“It hurts that we’ve thrown third place away and fourth as well, but in the grand scheme of things we’ve got to be happy,” he added.
“We’ve shown some progression this year.”
Trinity will be at home to Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and Saints in the Super-8s and away against Huddersfield Giants, Salford, Hull FC and Castleford Tigers.
Chester added: “We got taught a few lessons, but we will improve. The guys have got some time off now and hopefully they’ll come back stronger for the first round of the Super-8s.”
Meanwhile, Trinity have signed Australian utility-player Tyler Randell from Newcastle Knights on a contract until the end of 2019. The 24-year-old, who can play hooker, stand-off, loose-forward or scrum-half, was registered in time to feature in the Super-8s, though he may not arrive at Wakefield until next year.