Wakefield 2021 recruitment planning underway, reveals Chester

Chris Chester has revealed that Wakefield’s recruitment planning for 2021 is well underway.

The majority of Trinity’s 2020 squad are already under contract for next season, while the club have also been linked with a move for Australian halfback and former player Sam Williams.

Experienced winger Ben Jones-Bishop, and forwards Craig Kopczak and Titus Gwaze, however, are all off-contract at the end of this year and Chester says the club are yet to decide on their futures ahead of Friday’s final game of the season against Salford.

“There’s some guys who’ve still got a lot to play for this weekend,” he said. “There’s some decisions that we still haven’t made on certain players.

“Ben Jones-Bishop’s off-contract, Koppy’s (Craig Kopczak) off-contract. There’s another couple as well off the top of my head.

“But these guys have got a lot to play for, we’ve all got a lot to play for and I think it just goes down to making sure we finish the season off strong.

Ben Jones-Bishop is one of three players off-contract at the end of the season. Credit: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

“We’ve had some recruitment meetings. We had a recruitment meeting on Tuesday with the board and I let them know my thoughts on where we need to strengthen and which players we need to retain, and we’ll take some time over the next few weeks to make sure we get that recruitment right.”

This season has presented numerous challenges for Trinity, as it has for the whole of Super League, with positive Covid-19 tests, track and trace protocols and rescheduled fixtures providing regular disruption and seeing them struggle to find consistency.

What sets Wakefield apart from the rest of the competition, however, is that they’ve fulfilled more fixtures than anyone else and Chester says that is something to be proud of.

He added: “It’s been a frustrating year for us but we can take great pride in that we’re the only club to have played 19 games. We’ve not picked and chosen which teams we’ve wanted to play, we’ve travelled to Catalans and we’ve got on with the job.

“It’s been really difficult for a number of reasons but the way the players have conducted themselves since they’ve come back has been exemplary.

“I can’t thank them enough for turning up to training with a smile on their face and doing everything possible to make sure we fulfil all our fixtures.”

“I certainly need to catch up on some sleep – it’s been a tough, tough period. We would have obviously liked to finish higher than what we have done but I think the guys have really shown over the last two or three weeks the togetherness and what we’re all about as a club.

“The challenge for the players is to find that consistency within ourselves and make sure we have a real positive start to next season.”