It has been a difficult few months for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with the results and amount of injuries. Head Coach James Webster, has spoken about the difficult period and believes that the club is back on the up, on his first full season in charge.
“In the first two games I think we had only four players in the position that they play in” Webster stated, “I worked out at one stage we had 58% of our salary cap not playing in one or two of the games.”
Webster was fortunate enough to bring a few of the younger players; Tom Johnstone and Jordan Crowther into the squad from the Academy. The two individuals have pressed for a starting place throughout the season after impressing during training.
He continued, “In saying that, some players have had the chance to play more than we expected. We have been able to see some players in a different light and in different positions.
“It has been a big learning curve for me and my staff; we have been tested continuously every day. It is not something I haven’t enjoyed, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks it should improve.”
Wakefield have already welcomed Pita Godinet, Jon Molloy, Reece Lyne and Ian Kirke back into the squad.
“The lads who have come back have struggled a bit”, says James. “In the Halifax game Jon Molloy really struggled for fitness, and Reece struggled towards the end of the game as well.
“Ian Kirke also struggled for a while, but he is now out for another two months. He broke his thumb, displaced it and he has had a plate inserted into his thumb.”
A few of the other players who have been on the side lines this season will soon be knocking on the door for a starting place.
“We are mindful that with quite a few players coming back from injury at one time, it will be hard to fit them all in and for us to benefit from rotation ” James said, “Chris Annakin was available to play (against St Helens), but he is the type of player that needs a run through. In an ideal world I would have loved Chris to have a game or two before he plays for us again. That might happen, that might not.
“We are hoping there is an outside chance for Scott Anderson, who could return for Hull KR. He has trained with the team the last two days, although lightly not full training.”
Unfortunately Lopini Paea has a bit longer to wait before being able to make a return to the squad, “Paea has not come back with the team yet, I would say the earliest it will be is the Challenge Cup game, or probably the week after that” said James. “Lopini had a knee clean out, which was his cartilage. We were hoping he would have been a lot less time than this. It is actually his good knee and he’s never had any problems with it. He is getting closer but he hasn’t rejoined the team in training yet.”
James also stated that Matty Ashurst is expected to be out for a much longer period. “Matty has had to go back and have another operation on his groin. This was on Wednesday (yesterday). We will know further when he sees the surgeon as to whether it has put him back or not. I won’t expect Matty to play until well and truly the end of June.”
This Friday Wakefield will be without Danny Kirmond when they face St Helens at Langtree Park, after he has picked up numerous knocks over the past month. He is amongst a few other individuals who have been playing with a few niggles.
“Danny Kirmond is out this week, I would hope that he will be back on Thursday for Hull KR or if not the Challenge Cup game. We just take it week by week to see how he goes” he said, “Four or five players have played with needles each week, we had to try and get a team out and that’s what we had to do.
“Kyle Trout is still out from the week before. We have a couple of others in doubt for this week, we have got quite a lengthy list.
“This week will be difficult for us again with injuries, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks it should improve.”