Chris Chester: Wakefield Trinity part company with head coach

Chris Chester
Chris Chester led Wakefield to back-to-back fifth-placed finishes in 2017 and 2018 - their highest in the summer era

Super League side Wakefield Trinity have parted company with head coach Chris Chester, with assistant boss Willie Poching taking interim charge.

Chester, 42, had been in charge since March 2016 and guided Trinity to two top five finishes and a Challenge Cup semi-final in five years at the helm.

However, only four wins from 17 games in 2021 has prompted the board to act.

"The board felt that the time was right for change," chief executive Michael Carter said.

"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 2017 and 2018."

Leigh's winless record could spare second-from-bottom Wakefield or Salford should relegation go ahead as planned in 2021, although talk of a restructure might also mean no club drops out of the division.

Chester's exit will be doubly disappointing given his affection for the club who he supported as a boy.

While form has been tough to come by, Chester has handed debuts to academy players such as Yusuf Aydin, Harry Bowes and Jack Croft, and helped get the best out of senior professionals such as Reece Lyne, Tom Johnstone and Matty Ashurst.

He coached the team amid press rumours of a player revoltexternal-link last season, and the standing down of senior player David Fifitaexternal-link because of an issue with GPS tracker units.

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

"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."

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