Chris Chester talked up Wakefield’s semi-final chances after Trinity returned to form in style .
Trinity dropped out of the top four heading into the Super 8s and last week’s heavy defeat at Huddersfield left Chester questioning his side’s attitude and desire.
But, inspired by half-back Jacob Miller on his return from a broken leg, Wakefield delivered the reaction their coach demanded as they recorded their biggest Super League win against the Rhinos to move back into fourth spot.
“We’ve copped some criticism over the last seven days and rightly so because the performance last week wasn’t to the standards we’ve set ourselves,” said Chester.
“But we answered a few questions tonight. We scored some nice, fancy tries but the defence was the best I’ve seen it in a long time.
“We copped a bit but we’re now in that top four. Who’d have said that at the start of the year?
“We’ve shown with this performance tonight we’re not here to make the numbers up.
“We’ve got as good a chance as anybody competing for the top four. We need to take a lot of confidence from that result.
“It’s play-off football and there are a lot of good teams in and around us that are playing some good footy as well.
“We’ll see over the next few weeks but we fancy our chances against anybody.”
Joe Arundel’s early effort set the tone for a dominant first-half performance by Wakefield as further tries from Ben Jones-Bishop, Scott Grix and Miller gave them a 26-6 lead at the break.
Adam Cuthbertson’s 10th-minute leveller was all Leeds had to show from a nightmare opening 40 minutes and it got little better for the Rhinos after the break with Matty Ashurst and Bill Tupou completing a miserable evening for the visitors.
Leeds opened their Super 8s campaign with an impressive victory over Wigan but head coach Brian McDermott admitted there were worrying signs in the heavy defeat at Beaumont Legal Stadium, which came just two weeks after the Challenge Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Hull.
“Wakefield were really good,” he said. “They were up for the fight and doing the tough stuff.
“We started off okay but we started to look for answers with too many passes and offloads, although that’s not why we lost.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been beaten significantly like that.
“I know the Challenge Cup was a disappointing loss but it’s been a while since we’ve had that many points put on us and been that off with our preferred starting 13.
“We’ll have to have a reaction next week because St Helens are in form.”