Poching wants Wakefield job

Wakefield Trinity caretaker coach Willie Poching wants to succeed Chris Chester on a permanent basis.

While one-time Leeds and Toronto chief Brian McDermott, who comes from Wakefield, and ex-London Broncos coach Danny Ward are both being linked with Trinity, former player Poching, appointed as Chester’s assistant in September, has already thrown his hat into the ring.

The 47-year-old Kiwi, who played for both Samoa and New Zealand during a lengthy career as a second rower, which took in Auckland (now New Zealand) Warriors, North Queensland Cowboys, St George Illawarra Dragons and Leeds as well as Wakefield, has also been assistant coach at Leeds, Warrington, Salford and Hull KR.

“When I started coaching, I aspired to go right to the top,” he said.

“I have an audition now and I just have to get these guys doing what I know they can do well.

“I am immensely proud to be in charge of a club that has so much standing in the game. We want to refocus to get us back to playing the football they want to play and are capable of playing.”

Chester’s departure came with Trinity second-bottom of Super League, having won only four out of 17 matches this year, after the 22-18 defeat at Huddersfield, where they were 18-0 up at one stage.

Last season, Wakefield finished second-bottom and in 2019 they needed a last-round victory over London Broncos to ensure top-flight survival.

Former Hull KR coach Chester, 42, took charge of his home-city club in March 2016.

Wakefield chief executive Michael Carter said: ”It’s always a sad and difficult decision when change is needed, but the board felt the time was right.

“For many reasons, we are stuck in a rut, and have an incredibly important period coming up, where the future of Super League will be defined.

“Chris came in at a low point for the club, and for me personally, and completely changed things around.

“Under his leadership we played some of the best rugby this club has seen in Super League in 2018 and 2019.

“Sadly, the last two years have been difficult for many reasons with injuries and Covid decimating us at times.

“There have been numerous occasions where we could have sought a postponement but played on with weakened teams, and ultimately that has reflected on Chris.

“He has also never been given the opportunity to spend the full salary cap. To truly compete these days, clubs need either a wealthy benefactor or large crowds and substantial off-field income, none of which Chris has ever enjoyed here. At times, it must have felt like coaching with both hands tied behind his back.

“Chez will be remembered as a success at this club, and one who always had its best interests at heart. I wish him every success for the future.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.