It’s been a tough start to the season for Wakefield Trinity and it got even harder with the news that Lewis Murphy would be out for the season with an ACL injury.
Murphy was a breakout star in 2022 and it felt like if Wakefield were to make a potential playoff push this year than he’d be the catalyst.
Without him, and with the form they’ve started on, talks are already revolving around if they can avoid the drop.
Pairing the relegation chat with the issues that their field has provided and then the obvious three losses from three it’s been a less than ideal start for Mark Applegarth as a new head coach.
It gets harder too as Trinity are on the road this week and face a Leeds Rhinos team that has just beaten the World Champion St Helens in a nail-biting and feisty 25-24 victory.
On the other hand Wakefield are coming off a second consecutive loss to nil as Huddersfield defeated them 8-0 last Friday night.
The positives for Mark Applegarth have to be that they limited a side as brilliant as Huddersfield to just eight points, but defence was always going to be a focus given the huge 60 points they shipped to Wigan in their 60-0 round two defeat.
Trinity’s problem clearly lies in their offence but without Murphy the task of scoring will only get harder it seems.
For Friday’s clash they’ve recalled veteran Reece Lyne but their back-line is still a mess as they’re without senior full-back Max Jowitt as well.
Lee Gaskell has operated in that position which has seen new centre signing Samisoni Langi shift into the halves with Mason Lino, although it’s unclear what Trinity will do on Friday.
The game against Huddersfield saw Liam Kay shift to full-back to allow the partnership of Gaskell and Lino to operate and that’s something that could happen again.
Their four new signings of Langi, Morgan Smith, Renouf Atoni and Kevin Proctor are all set to feature again.
Mark Applegarth has named his 21-man squad for Friday's @SuperLeague Round 4 clash against Leeds Rhinos at Headingley. In association with @WDHcarelink. 🤝
Tickets are available in the @ridingscentre club store until 2pm on Friday afternoon. 🎫 pic.twitter.com/qSJhETk4Pq
— Wakefield Trinity (@WTrinityRL) March 8, 2023