It is all eyes on Castleford tonight as they look to win the League Leaders’ Shield: which is why Chris Chester is telling his Wakefield players to go and spoil the party.
The Tigers know that if they avoid defeat to their local rivals on Thursday night, they will finish top of rugby league’s first division for the first time in their history.
But Chester has told TotalRL that Wakefield are hellbent on showcasing their own title credentials at the home of their fiercest foes.
He said: “The objective is simple: to go and spoil the party. All that’s been written in the press is that the League Leaders’ Shield is arriving at Castleford on Thursday and that it’s a foregone conclusion – but we’re going there to get a result ourselves.
“There are two evenly-matched sides, the only advantage for them is that they’re at home and they know how to play their pitch. We came up with a decent plan the last time we played them (Wakefield lost 25-24) and we feel we’ve got a good plan to take it to them this week. It’s two good teams, and form is out of the window.”
Chester also says that should Wakefield win and ruin Castleford’s party, it would further prove that Trinity are serious title contenders this year.
“It lays a marker down from our perspective,” he said.
“It tells everyone we’re not here to make the numbers up. People need to start believing in that I think. We’re confident, we’ve got a confident group of players and we think we can have a crack at these semi-finals.”
But as a local lad who grew up in the area and has watched both Castleford and Wakefield toil in the summer era, Chester believes Thursday night deserves to be a special occasion for both teams.
“Both clubs have been through it over the last 15 to 20 years,” he said.
“Both have stared relegation in the face; Wakefield have been near to it a few times and Castleford have actually gone through it. It’s a big game for more than one reason, and it’s nice for the clubs to be spoken about in the manner Leeds, Wigan and St Helens have been.”