Wakefield coach Chris Chester says he is expecting the very best of Catalans Dragons on Saturday night – but admits he hopes their inside knowledge of Steve McNamara’s side hands them a slight edge.
Trinity head to Perpignan looking to make it three wins from three at the start of the new Super League season, when they take on a Catalans side yet to pick up a point in 2018.
However, despite their dismal form and woeful performances away from home, Chester is expecting the Perpignan atmosphere to bring the best out of the Dragons like it has so many times in the past.
“I’m expecting the team who played St Helens to turn up on Saturday,” he told TotalRL.
“They’re a different side at home and we’re not expecting the amount of errors they made last week. We expect them to be more conservative and it’s a massive test of our attitude. We go into the game as favourites but we know that if our attitude isn’t good, we’ll be turned over. We want to go three from three and we go there quietly confident.”
Catalans are expected to welcome back a host of big names for the game – but Chester says the two members of his group that were in place at the Dragons last year could hopefully help their preparation.
He said: “We’ve prepared for the likes of Sam Moa, Tony Gigot and Michael McIlorum to play but we’ve got the likes of (assistant coach) Michael Monaghan and (forward) Justin Horo who have given us some information on the way they like to play, and the calls they make. We feel we’ve got a bit of a leg-up, but it’s going to be a test, that’s for sure.”
Chester will make few changes for the game – but one enforced alteration will see Jordan Baldwinson make his Super League debut for the club following an injury to Keegan Hirst: and Chester praised the forward for how he has applied himself while he has had to wait for his chance.
“We had a reserve grade game last Wednesday which gave us a good opportunity to get some players playing some minutes,” he explained. “We’ll use that as a reward at the end of each week and this time it’s Jordan Baldwinson who gets rewarded. We’ve had a good week off, got some minutes into the players and we’re in a good place heading to Catalans.
“I think Jordan has been excellent since he’s come here. His attitude has been fantastic and he’s had a lot of difficult stuff happening. He’s had it tough, but he’s come in with a smile on his face and got on with his job – he’s a pleasure to coach and he deserves his opportunity. I was deliberating over whether to play him in the first game but I promised him he’d get a chance and now he gets it.”