Wakefield coach Chris Chester has revealed his disappointment at comments made from the Wigan camp ahead of their first meeting since the Wildcats’ 62-0 win against the Warriors earlier this year.
Chester’s side ran in 11 unanswered tries back in April as a Wigan side depleted by injuries and, more tellingly, illness, were hammered at Belle Vue.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane has since said in this week’s pre-match press conference that Wakefield “rammed the win down their throats” – but Chester has hit back and expressed frustration at those comments ahead of Friday’s game at the DW Stadium.
“I’m really disappointed with the comments made about us “ramming the win down their throats”,” he said.
“We didn’t ram anything down anyone’s throat; we were delighted with the win and although the fans might have got excited, we just took it as a great performance from us.
“We understood there was an illness going through their camp but we can only control what we control on the day. It’s just disappointing to hear because there certainly wasn’t any member of our staff ramming something down Wigan’s throat: it was a proud day for the boys in my opinion.”
Both sides go into this game with markedly different squads though; Wigan have a host of first-team stars back in the side whilst Wakefield are struggling with their own injury problems – and Chester admits they are facing the best team in Super League on form.
He said: “They’re a very different side to the one who came here a few months ago, and we’ve not read too much into that game.
“Everything seemed to tick for us that day and I’m expecting a very physical game from Wigan. They’re the best team in the comp at this moment in time and we need to find some form and defend a lot better than we have done for the last few weeks.”
However, Chester refused to make excuses despite his side being without a number of key men.
“We’ll go with 17 fit bodies. Anthony England is going to be out for a period of time, we’re still without Nick Scruton and Danny Kirmond and Anthony Tupou – as well as Mika Simon and Tom Johnstone.
“Yes, we’re doing it tough but there’s no excuses, I expect us to go there and play well. We need to make sure we’re defending better than we have done in the last few weeks.”
And Chester also suggested he could hand a debut to talented young forward James Batchelor – although admits that the fact he’s getting on a plane the day after to tour Australia with England Academy could impact his thinking in that regard.
“There’s potential James could play,” Chester said.
“He’s been playing very well in the under-19s and he’s one for the future for sure – but I’ve no hesitation of throwing a young kid like him in.
“He obviously goes on tour on Saturday morning with England Academy so that might make my decision a little bit easier – but he’s done everything right in training. The call will be made Friday morning.”