He played a significant role in the path which led to Josh Charnley’s professional debut eight years ago – and Wakefield coach Chris Chester expects to face the winger on Friday night when Trinity travel to Warrington.
Charnley is in Warrington’s 19-man squad for the clash, just days after agreeing to return to Super League following an 18-month stint in rugby union with Sale.
Chester was assistant coach at Hull KR in 2010 when he was asked to try and find an outside back to ease their injury problems. He called on former club Wigan; and was offered a 19-year-old Charnley who had yet to make his senior debut. Charnley joined the Robins on loan, scoring five tries in five games before returning to Wigan and making an instant impact in their own first-team.
“I actually instigated the initial discussions to sign him at Hull KR,” Chester recalled to TotalRL.
“I spoke to Kris Radlinski because we were struggling for centres at Hull KR, with us losing players rapidly. (Coach) Justin Morgan asked me to give Rads a call and when I did, to see if they had anyone, he recommended Josh to me.
“He was only 19 at that time and still playing Academy, but we took a punt on him and I guess it was a gamble which paid off. We weren’t sure how he’d adapt to it all, but he went well on his debut, and then he obviously went on to score in the derby against Hull FC.”
And when asked if he expects Charnley to feature on Friday, Chester said: “I am, actually.
“He’s a special talent, and I’m really glad he’s back in the 13-a-side code and not in union. He was the best winger in Super League up until going to rugby union for my money, and I’m just pleased to see him back.”
Wakefield’s clash with Widnes last Saturday was postponed after 27 minutes due to the snow, and the Trinity coach insists that has not had too much of an impact on their preparation for the Warrington game.
“We gave the lads Sunday off and then they’ve been back in for just a normal week,” Chester said.
“We’ve made a couple of changes from the team that played against Widnes but I already had an idea what my team was for Warrington.”
And Chester said that, with four games in two weeks on the horizon, he will be rotating his troops regularly during the testing Easter period.
He said: “I’m going to use my full squad of senior players for the Easter period – it’s disappointing for a couple of the lads who were going to play last weekend that will miss out this week, but we need results, and I’ve got to pick what I think the best team is to get a result on each occasion.
“We’re rotating Kyle Wood; Ryan Hampshire was going to play last week anyway, but didn’t get on the field. Tinirau Arona is struggling with a bit of tightness in his calf, and I need to make sure he’s right for Castleford. It wasn’t an easy decision, because it’s going to hurt us; he plays some big minutes, but we’ve the likes of Pauli Pauli, Keegan Hirst and David Fifita in the mix.”