Match Preview by Emma Holley
The road to Wembley 2020 begins for Trinity on Friday night, where they take on Yorkshire rivals Bradford Bulls in a fifth round home tie.
Chris Chester has identified the Challenge Cup as a “main priority”, and Trinity will be hoping to produce a decent cup run this season, and build momentum.
Trinity will be looking to bounce back after heart-break last Friday, as they were consigned to a gut-wrenching 26-27 defeat to Hull FC.
Despite an incredible performance from Trinity, Marc Sneyd clinched victory for the Black and Whites, with a drop goal in Golden Point extra-time.
In terms of the Challenge Cup, Trinity haven’t had the best of runs in the last few years. In 2019, Trinity were knocked out of the Quarter Finals heavily by St Helens, whilst in 2018, Trinity’s cup run stopped before it had even started, in the sixth round away defeat to Huddersfield Giants 24-14.
Trinity did progress to the Quarter Finals in 2017, but were heavily defeated by Salford away from home. A semi-final was reached in 2016 however, with a place at Wembley within touching distance, but it was not to be, and their opponents Warrington proved too strong.
This year, Trinity will be targeting a strong cup run, hoping to book a place in the last 16. And the perfect opportunity comes this Friday evening, kickstarting with the home advantage.
Head coach Chris Chester has named his 21-man squad for the Challenge Cup clash, which is boosted by the return of Danny Brough and Big Bopper Dave Fifita!
In his joint press conference with John Kear, Chester said:
“We’re not taking Bradford lightly at all. We’ve prepared as though we’re preparing for a Super League game.”
“There’s two really good teams that what to progress into the next round of the Challenge Cup, and hopefully that’s us.”
“We don’t really know what to expect, and that makes them(Bradford) a dangerous team. We’ve got the advantage at home, so we’ve just got to make sure we play well.”
“I think they are a tough team to break down. It’s going to be a tough game, and one game both coaches are looking after…and both sets of fans.”
The Bulls currently occupy 7th place in the Betfred Championship table, registering two wins out of four in the campaign so far.
They come into this game on the back of a convincing 28-0 victory over Sheffield Eagles on Sunday, and will be looking to continue their winning streak.
Familiar face John Kear returns to the Mobile Rocket Stadium tonight, and they’ll be a few ones to watch out for in thisBradford side, including youngster Brad Gallagher, who scored two tries last weekend against Sheffield.
Jordan Lilley has also proved to be an integral figure for the Bulls in recent seasons, and especially shone in Bradford’s Challenge Cup tie against Leeds Rhinos last May.
Another one to watch is Rowan Milnes – an academy star for Bradford, currently on loan from Hull KR.
Matty Dawson-Jones and Greg Johnson are also players Trinity will be looking out for, with the Super League experience they bring to the team.
Commenting on tonight’s match, Kear said:
“I’m really pleased we drew Wakefield. I’ve got an emotional attachment to this club, I’ve had great times here in two spells, and it’s a club I hold dear to my heart.”
“We’re going to come here and enjoy ourselves. It’s a free hit.”
These two sides last faced one another in the dramatic 2015 Million Pound Game, where Trinity secured their Super League status with a last-gasp Scott Moore try.
2014 was the last time Trinity and Bradford met in league action, where the Bulls completed a double over Trinity that year.
Trinity (21-man squad): Walker, Johnstone, Tupou, Lyne, Miller, Brough, Fifita, K. Wood, Arona, Ashurst, Westerman, Pitts, Kopczak, Green, Crowther, King, J. Wood, Kershaw, Atkins, Tanginoa, Navarrete.
Bulls (21-man squad): Joe Brown, Ryan Butterworth, Steve Crossley, Matty Dawson-Jones, Thomas Doyle, Anthony England, George Flanagan, David F-Johnston, Brad Gallagher, Sam Hallas, Bradley Ho, Evan Hodgson, Greg Johnson, Jordan Lilley, Rowan Milnes, Levy Nzoungou, Ross Oakes, Brandon Pickersgill, Matthew Race, Adam Rooks, Ebon Scurr.