Super League: Leeds Rhinos vs Wakefield Trinity talking points and team news
Round 6 of the 2021 Betfred Super League season kicks off on Friday night as Leeds Rhinos host Wakefield Trinity at Emerald Headingley; watch live on Sky Sports Arena from 7.30pm and stream live on Sky Sports' YouTube channel
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 14/05/21 12:32pm
We look at what is being said ahead of Friday's live Super League match at Headingley between Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity, including Chris Chester's future and the return of Luke Gale...
Is Chester's time at Wakefield ending?
Chris Chester has been in charge at Wakefield for five years, but the head coach dropped a hint his tenure at his hometown club may be coming to an end once the 2021 season concludes.
Chester is out of contract at the end of the season, along with the contracts of 13 members of Trinity's playing squad, and he would be happy to extend it further.
But at the same time, the 42-year-old has been left questioning whether to do so following online abuse aimed at both him and his players - something Chester spoke out about recently when he appeared on The Coaching Manual.
"I'd love to stay here, I'm Wakefield born and bred," Chester said ahead of Friday's trip to Leeds. "What I will say is that the challenges I've faced over the last couple of years have made me think long and hard.
"Obviously the personal attacks just make you think whether being a head coach is actually worth it. But I can't speak highly enough of the people working here and the support I've had from everybody at board level and the staff.
"There's a real good group of people here that want the best for Wakefield Trinity. If that involves me moving forward, then happy days. Let's just see what the next couple of months bring."
Friday's match is a re-run of the opening weekend clash between the two at Headingley which saw Leeds triumph 28-22 in a see-saw contest, with Wakefield still searching for their first win of the year in all competitions after going down 38-18 to Catalans Dragons in their last Super League match.
The visitors have not been helped by injuries to key players such as Jacob Miller and Bill Tupou. Meanwhile, winger Tom Johnstone is set for a longer spell out after suffering a setback following a concussion suffered in the Challenge Cup defeat to Catalans last month.
However, Matty Ashurst is back after missing three games due to injury, and loan signings Olly Ashall-Bott and Josh Eaves are set to continue in the team after making their debuts last time out.
Gale boost for Rhinos
Like their opponents, Leeds' start to the season has been blighted by injuries and that opening-weekend win over Wakefield remains their sole success so far in the 2021 season.
Since then, Richard Agar's side have lost five matches in a row - the most recent being an agonising 14-13 defeat to Huddersfield Giants thanks to a last-gasp drop goal from Lee Gaskell.
However, the Rhinos have been boosted by the news captain Luke Gale is set to start in the halves on Friday after completing his recovery from a broken thumb in last month's Challenge Cup third-round defeat against St Helens.
It is an area Leeds have found themselves particularly short of options during this period, so head coach Agar is naturally delighted to welcome back the hugely influential Gale who was so prominent during the 2020 season for the team after switching from Castleford Tigers.
"I think it's been pretty obvious one of the elements of our game we've struggled with and has been a consequence to where we are at the minute is our inability to have a stable line-up and half-backs playing in the half-back roles," Agar said.
"He's a welcome return; he's our captain, he kicks the ball and touches the ball more than any other player we've got, so his influence back in the team has been immediate and given people some confidence around him.
"It's been a very tricky situation forced upon us, changing our halves every week and having people playing out of position."
Gale's fellow half-back Kyle Eastmond is included in the 21-man squad as well, although it remains to be seen whether he lines up alongside the England international for the match against Wakefield.
Meanwhile, Alex Mellor is on the verge of notching up his 150th career appearance in the match and Mikolaj Oledzki is set to reach the 100 career appearances milestone.
Leeds Rhinos: Tom Briscoe, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Brad Dwyer, Liam Sutcliffe, King Vuniyayawa, Bodene Thompson, Sam Walters, Luke Briscoe, James Donaldson, Jarrod O'Connor, Jack Broadbent, Corey Hall, Morgan Gannon, Kyle Eastmond.
Wakefield Trinity: Reece Lyne, Liam Kay, Mason Lino, David Fifita, Kyle Wood, Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, Kelepi Tanginoa, Joe Westerman, Jay Pitts, Eddie Battye, James Batchelor, Chris Green, Innes Senior, Jordy Crowther, Joe Arundel, Brad Walker, Lee Kershaw, Olly Ashall-Bott, Josh Eaves.