Season Review: Wakefield Trinity
Chris Chester will be eager to see the back of 2020 after a frustrating year for his Wakefield side. Trinity were hit hard by Covid-19 cases, as well as track and trace rulings, forcing several of their key players to miss large chunks of the season after the enforced break.
Nevertheless - Covid aside - it still proved to be a gloomy year for Wakefield as they finished second bottom in Super League, struggling to just five wins in 19 matches.
Admirably, Trinity played more league games than any other team in Super League which no doubt took its toll - but they struggled to find any sort of consistency for large parts of the season.
Wakefield got off to the worst possible start when they headed to Hull KR in the opening round - well beaten by Rovers in their first outing of the year. Trinity’s response to that defeat didn’t take long and they soon kick-started their season in a tight contest against Warrington Wolves. Ryan Hampshire’s boot proving the difference after he kicked five goals to help Trinity earn their first two points of the season.
A defeat to Castleford the following weekend was again backed up by a win – Trinity securing their first away win of the season in a 12-22 victory at Salford.
A golden point defeat to Hull FC before the lockdown was followed by a second one-point defeat against the Warriors in their first match back after the break. Trinity's slump continued after that - those defeats forming an unwanted run of ten games without a win in a bitterly disappointing period of Wakefield's season.
They were reduced to the foot of the ladder with no sign of climbing up, before a mini resurgence spurred Trinity into some welcome form as the season reached its conclusion. A much-needed win against the Giants propelled Wakefield to a three-game winning run - securing those wins in a compressed seven-day period.
Their impressive run came to an end in a closely fought loss against Leeds - but was enough to drag them from the bottom of the table and finish the season in tenth place.
Chris Chester will take some solace in knowing that major disruptions to his starting line-up due to Covid-19 prevented him from fielding a consistent team and creating fluidity between players in key positions.
However, some stark problems remain. Trinity struggled to create chances in attack for large chunks of the year - reflected in Wakefield averaging the lowest number of points scored across Super League in 2020.
Pressure is mounting as Trinity head into the New Year. They will be looking to rectify their on-field performances and fight their way out of relegation contention in what will be a significantly important year for the Wakefield club.
Player of the year
Kelepi Tanginoa had a year to remember in a Wakefield side that has had one to forget. The bustling backrower was an ever present for Trinity in 2020 - impressive given Trinity’s packed schedule - and performed consistently well for a side that has struggled for form.
His superb efforts throughout the year were rewarded with his addition in the 2020 Super League Dream Team, recognising his selfless contributions for his team during a challenging year.
Chris Chester’s side went into their round 17 clash with the Giants without a win in their last ten matches. Trinity desperately needed a response to pull them from their winless rut.
Allegations of a dressing room revolt were quickly put to bed after Tom Johnstone's try in the final five minutes sealed victory for Trinity and sparked a mini resurgence for the Wakefield side which led them to three wins on the bounce, leapfrogging Hull KR from the foot of the ladder.
Trin win! 👏 @WTrinityRL snap the losing streak #SLHudWak #SuperLeague pic.twitter.com/ERWXXJLuB8
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) October 22, 2020
Five wins in 19 games is a poor return for Trinity and their dismal mid-season run summed up their year. A short flourish to salvage their reputation late on in the season helped them avoid the wooden spoon but 2020 was still a long way off their best.