HIS Dream Team left pairing has been decimated for the foreseeable future, but Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester has no time to ponder.
The West Yorkshire club host Huddersfield Giants tonight still reeling from the news that star centre Bill Tupou will need groin surgery and be missing for the next three months.
Wakefield are already without England winger Tom Johnstone for the rest of the campaign due to the ruptured ACL he suffered last month, so it leaves Chester shorn of two of his best players.
Tonga international Tupou, 28, was injured in Sunday’s 33-22 win over Salford Red Devils and his coach is furious that no action was taken regarding the tackle.
“I said it at the time, and I still think that something should have been done with the challenge,” he said.
“A guy has had his leg taken away from him and gone above the 90 degrees and it has caused a hell of a lot of damage in his groin.
“We got the worst possible news yesterday that he was going to need an operation and he will go for it early next week.
“For us to lose Bill in the manner that we have lost him, and for there not to be any charge, it is really disappointing.
“We have lost Bill, we have lost Tom, I think that is five or six long-term guys now.
“We are very frustrated. As a coach I am frustrated and as a club we are frustrated.
The salary cap isn’t the issue, it is budget. We were a little bit over budget at the start of the year when we brought Danny Brough in so late. We have had a ridiculous amount of bad luck over the last three or four weeksWakefield coach, Chris Chester
“We’re disappointed for Bill and – with Tom out as well – we’re going to have to try and find 300m (per game) from somewhere else now; it’s a gap that’s going to be hard to fill.”
The Rugby Football League’s match review panel ruled the incident was worthy of a penalty alone.
It said Adam Walker – the former Wakefield prop – lifted and then released Tupou’s left leg and he landed on his back on the ground.
Although Trinity would like to strengthen their squad in light of the injury latest – they are already missing the likes of forwards Craig Huby, Tyler Randell and James Batchelor – it is not as simple as it seems.
“We are still no nearer to bringing anybody in,” added Chester.
“There are a few names that have been mentioned, but it has got to be a player that has got to add some quality to the team.
“In terms of the pack we are great. Our pack has been the big plus over the last few weeks.
“But we are going to have to look at reinforcements now. We are literally down to the bare bones.
“It is getting to the point now where we will have to pull some guys back from dual reg, Luke Kershaw, or maybe a Luke Hooley. We will get this game out of the way. I can have a sit down with Michael (Carter) and see what budget we have available.
“The salary cap isn’t the issue, it is budget. We were a little bit over budget at the start of the year when we brought Danny Brough in so late.
“We have had a ridiculous amount of bad luck over the last three or four weeks.
“I am sure our luck will turn and, hopefully, we can bring in a player that will add some quality.”
Huddersfield, meanwhile, are rising in confidence.
Although they were rooted to the bottom of the table after losing their opening four games, Simon Woolford’s improving side are now looking for a fourth win in five games.
“I think they have been really good the last couple of weeks,” admitted Chester.
“They put a really good score on London last week and we know first-hand how difficult it is to go there and get a result.
“I thought they were excellent against Hull KR and they put some points on them, too.
“It is going to be a similar game to the weekend’s game (against Salford); they are not going to go away and they are a tough team to break down while they have got two wingers that are exceptionally strong.”
Chester refers there to Jermiane McGillvary, the England international, and Akuila Uate, the Fiji star who is starting to find his feet, scoring twice in Sunday’s 38-26 win in London.
Promoted London beat Wakefield on the first day of the season and also defeated Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors to show their worthiness on their return to Super League.
It is proving a highly-competitive campaign so far with just four points separating bottom-placed Leeds and Wakefield, in fourth, ahead of this round 10 of action.
Chester is wary of that and the need to start building some consistency in his own side, who have only strung together successive wins once this term.
“London have shown this year that they are a match for anybody,” he added.
“They beat us, they beat Wigan, they beat Leeds Rhinos – it is a close competition.
“If we can get a win at the weekend we will just cement our place in the top-five, which is a target we spoke of in pre-season.
“We haven’t got any home games in May, so we need to make the most of these next couple of weeks. We have got Huddersfield, Wigan, Castleford away and Leeds at home.
“So that is three home games in our next four. We targeted this six weeks as a really important time and we are two from four at the minute.
“We are still not where we wanted to be, but we have got a good opportunity now to consolidate our spot in the top five.”
Hull FC’s French full-back Hakim Miloudi has joined Championship outfit Toronto Wolfpack on an initial one-month loan, but it could be extended until the end of the year.
Centre Jack Logan has returned to the Black and Whites after his own four-week loan with the Canadian club.