It’s over twenty years now since Wakefield gained promotion back to the top flight of Rugby League. Trinity won a glorious Division one Grand Final victory over Featherstone Rovers back in September 1998 in front of a crowd of 8,224. Since then they’ve managed to survive some mighty dog fights at the bottom of the table as well as some really solid seasons where they have competed in the playoffs. It’s fair to say for a club their size Wakefield have punched above their weight. Many of the elite teams in the Super League have been put to the sword at the famous old Belle Vue Stadium.
Rugby League and Wakefield legend Neil Fox MBE.
Perhaps it’s looking a little tired these days but it remains a traditional ground of the sport. A place that has seen many greats of the game play over the years including the legendary Neil Fox, David Topliss and Derek Turner. Between the three of them they played over 1200 games for the Dreadnoughts. The club were the team to beat in the 1960s. Lifting two Championships in 1967 and 1968. They also triumphed at Wembley three times in 1960, 1962 and 1963.
Wakefield Trinity ruled the roost in the 1960s.
After a really positive start to the 2019 season injuries took their toll on coach Chris Chester’s squad. Trinity had to fight for survival in a real thrilling relegation dog fight that involved four other clubs. On the final round of the season London, Wakefield, Hull Kingston Rovers and Huddersfield knew what they had to do to stay up. Either one could of fell through the trap door to the Championship. A nervy 19-10 victory over London saw Trinity survive and condemned the valiant Broncos to the drop.
Tom Johnstone is one of the hottest properties in the Super League. The lighting fast winger suffered an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury last year. He’s back in 2020 and started the season in fine form. In the close season coach Chris Chester was extremely busy on the recruitment front. London duo Alex Walker and Jay Pitts have moved to West Yorkshire and former Salford hooker Josh Wood is re building his career with Trinity after an injury ravaged 2019. Two very experienced players have signed in Ryan Atkins and Joe Westerman. Atkins begins his second spell with the club having made over 100 appearances between 2006 and 2009.
Super League Home Record.
1999 Salford 28 Wakefield 14
2000 Salford 14 Wakefield 22
2001 Salford 26 Wakefield 16
2001 Salford 24 Wakefield 32
2002 Salford 42 Wakefield 18
2002 Salford 22 Wakefield 22
2004 Salford 20 Wakefield 27
2005 Salford 16 Wakefield 14
2005 Salford 37 Wakefield 0
2006 Salford 48 Wakefield 10
2006 Salford 26 Wakefield 12
2007 Salford 18 Wakefield 35
2009 Salford 24 Wakefield 30
2010 Salford 16 Wakefield 12
2011 Salford 34 Wakefield 12
2012 Salford 34 Wakefield 42 (played at Leigh)
2013 Salford 10 Wakefield 46
2014 Salford 18 Wakefield 14
2015 Salford 24 Wakefield 18
2015 Salford 34 Wakefield 26 (middle eights)
2016 Salford 38 Wakefield 8
2017 Salford 24 Wakefield 34
2017 Salford 18 Wakefield 43 (Super 8s)
2018 Salford 38 Wakefield 4
2019 Salford 44 Wakefield 20
They played for both.
Here are a few players who represented both clubs:
Ben Jones Bishop, Mason Caton Brown, Tim Smith, Kevin Locke, Matty Ashurst, Ged Byrne, Garen Casey, Shane Kenward, Jason Critchley, Ashley Gibson, Sean Gleeson, Bobbie Goulding, Josh Griffin, George Griffin, Darrell Griffin, Phil Hassan, James Hasson, Stuart Howarth, Alan Hunte, Greg Johnson, Warren Jowitt, Andy Kirk, Tommy Lee, Francis Maloney, Martin Moana, Kris Tassell, Jason Walton, Jeremy Smith and Craig Kopzack.
Former Salford forward Matty Ashurst is now a cornerstone of Wakefield’s pack.
A match to remember Saturday 17th August 2002.
Salford 22 Wakefield 22
With both sides battling at the wrong end of the table the two points on offer here we’re priceless. Salford we’re having a miserable season. Big defeats away from home and at The Willows we’re becoming far to frequent.
Wakefield went ahead in the sixth minute with a penalty from Ian Knott before a Steve Blakeley try and two Graham Holroyd goals put Salford 8-2 up.
Wakefield drew level when Andrew Frew collected Deon Bird’s pass to go over and Knott landed a penalty after a high tackle by Andy Coley on Paul Jackson.
The teams went in level at half time 8-8.
Early in the second half, the impressive Brad Davis added a drop goal.
The Australian half back was a constant threat with his organisational skills.
Danny Arnold put Salford back in front on the hour with a well taken try before Wakefield took a commanding ten point lead.
Andrew Frew touched down from a kick through, Davis added the conversion and then booted his second drop goal before capping a fine display by finishing off Deon Bird’s break for a try, which he then converted.
Salford now staring down the barrel of another defeat needed something special and they certainly got it.
Arnold squeezed in at the corner for his second try before sub Ian Watson darted over and Graham Holroyd coolly landed the conversion to level the match. After a frantic finale both sides had to settle for a point in a 22-22 draw.
Ian Watson, try scorer in 2002.
The relegation battle when right down to the wire. Salford had to beat Castleford on the final day of the season at The Willows to survive. Sadly another poor performance and a 10-20 defeat resulted in relegation to National League one.
The club re grouped under coach Karl Harrison and a terrific season in 2003 saw Salford back in the big time after promotion.
The teams that day;
Salford: Gibson, Reardon, Maloney, Hunte, Arnold, Holroyd, Blakeley, Baynes, Alker, Highton, Ebrill, Treacey, Wainwright. Subs: Southern, Price, Coley, Watson.
Wakefield: Holland, Sovatabua, Tassell, Bird, Frew, Moana, Davis, Jackson, Vowles, Feather, Slattery, Field, Knott. Subs: Broadbent, March, Handforth, Ellis.
Referee: Russell Smith (Castleford)
Sundays match .
Both sides will be looking for improvement to their recent form. Salford have lost back to back home matches against Huddersfield and Leeds. Perhaps the most concerning thing at the moment for Ian Watson is some early season injury problems. Krisnan Inu hobbled off early on last week, Luke Yates failed a head assessment, Dan Sarginson and Lee Mossop are both injured. Kevin Brown will also miss this match through suspension. Wakefield have won one match so far. Trinity surprised Warrington with an excellent victory at Belle Vue sending the Wolves packing 18-8. A disappointing defeat in the opening round at Hull Kingston Rovers and a 32-15 derby defeat at Castleford last week leave both sides desperate to kick start their season.
Talking of injury problems Wakefield have been hit by two big blows with Joe Arundel and Ryan Hampshire both suffering injuries last Friday. Arundel will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury while Hampshire is out for six weeks with a broken jaw.
Trinity have plenty of ex Salford players in their squad which will definitely add to what looks an intriguing encounter.
The action gets under way at 3pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match everyone.