Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester has admitted it will be tough for his squad to be ready for the Super League restart and he says he’s concerned by the heightened risk of injury when Super League returns.
Trinity are back in training next week, ahead of their first Super League game on the second weekend of August. Fixtures are due to be released later this week to confirm their first opponent.
And Chester told League Express that with only three weeks’ worth of training before their opening fixture and only a limited number of players and staff coming off furlough for a July 20th return to training, it is going to be difficult for them to be firing on all cylinders.
“In the first week, we can’t do a great deal,” he said.
“As it stands we’ve still got the one-metre restrictions, so you can’t do any sort of contact in close games or whatever.
“There are so many restrictions in place; we’ve got to come in one door at Belle Vue, out of another and you can’t eat together either, so it’s going to be very strange for that first week.
“The contact, and all the physicality stuff, will come in weeks two and three. We’re going to bring back 24 players and we’ve only got five or six staff, so it’s going to be tough.”
Chester also said that having watched the NRL’s return in recent weeks, he is wary of players picking up more injuries than usual, some of which could be serious.
He said: “It’s not ideal but at the end of the day we just want to get out and start playing again.
“There’s the heightened risk of injury. You can see that in the NRL with the number of players that are getting injured over there at the moment. We’ve only had four or five weeks of that and they seem to be dropping like flies.
“You can blame the pitches if you want, but a lot of it is to do with the lack of training and contact on a regular basis. We normally have seven or eight weeks before Christmas and another month after that to condition our players and get them ready to play. So it’s going to take some effort to get us to where we need to be. But I think that the most important thing for everyone is getting back out there and getting back playing with some normality.”
Chester adds that it has been a testing time for him as a coach, as well as the players, with a lack of work.
“It’s nice to see some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
“It’s been 14 or 15 weeks and it’s been challenging mentally more than anything over these last three months.
“Players and staff have struggled, but to be able to get some kind of restart date and confirmation that we’re actually going to start training is really promising. We’re looking forward to getting going at last.”