Hull KR coach remains concerned over Wakefield pitch after it passes inspection

Josh McAllister
Be Well Support Stadium, Wakefield Trinity, Belle Vue. PA.

Wakefield’s home fixture against Hull KR this Friday will go ahead as planned after the controversial hybrid pitch at Belle Vue passed another inspection. 

The new hybrid surface is part of the ongoing developments at Wakefield’s home ground.

The pitch at Belle Vue was heavily criticised by Catalans coach Steve McNamara following the opening game of the season last month.

McNamara revealed that seven of his players suffered infections following the fixture in February, leading to ‘the worst week ever’ ahead of the side’s round two clash with Leigh.

The comments led to doubts ahead of Wakefield’s second home game against Huddersfield in March, before passing a pitch inspection just days before the game.

And once again, the pitch required an inspection ahead of the Round Six tie with Hull KR on Friday. The doubts also saw Sky Sports pull their coverage of the game, instead opting to broadcast Wigan’s home tie with Salford at the DW Stadium.

Wakefield Trinity issue statement

A statement made by Wakefield read: “The RFL have determined that Friday’s Betfred Super League fixture between Wakefield Trinity and Hull KR can go ahead as scheduled at the Be Well Support Stadium.

“An inspection of the playing surface has been conducted, with officials of both clubs present, following issues since the pitch was relaid during the off-season.

“An independent consultant confirmed that the playing surface has improved significantly in the 17 days since the Huddersfield fixture on 3 March, and the RFL Board have therefore ruled that the match can go ahead as planned.”

Hull KR concerns

Hull KR coach Willie Peters says he remains concerned about the surface, but he is happy to abide by the decision of the independent inspection.

He said: “As a coach, you care about your players, and they’ve been showing me photos of players from the previous two games there, and it wasn’t good.

Our concerns were on half of the pitch – one half is OK. I am not disappointed because the independent person has had a look. If the ground isn’t OK and we see similar injuries from what we’ve seen, I’d be disappointed.

“I’ve seen comments saying the pitch was OK for the Huddersfield game. No, it wasn’t.

“We’d play on the road outside. It is what it is. All we can go by is that it’s passed to play on. We don’t need to talk about it with the players any more. Hopefully, the pitch is fine.”

Wakefield chairman John Minards spoke out about the situation amidst the controversy surrounding the Huddersfield game

He said: “It is still in its first year, but we’re confident that what we’ve put down here will be a first-class playing surface that is among the best in the game.

The pitch only went down in September and it doesn’t grow much during the winter months. Clearly we are not quite where we want to be at the moment, but it will continue to improve.”