Wakefield chairman John Minards confident in club’s hybrid Belle Vue pitch
Wakefield chairman John Minards has sprung to the defence of his club’s controversial Belle Vue pitch after officials ruled Friday night’s Betfred Super League clash with Huddersfield can go ahead as planned.
RFL chiefs ordered a Tuesday inspection of the hybrid surface after Catalans revealed seven of their players suffered infections in the wake of their opening day win in West Yorkshire two weeks ago.
And while Minards accepts there is still plenty of improvement in the pitch, which was laid in September last year, he believes it will ultimately become the envy of many of Trinity’s top-flight rivals.
“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,” Minards told the PA news agency.
“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.”
Giants head coach Ian Watson insisted he has no fears over what the game holds in store but revealed he will give players the option of wearing skins in order to mitigate any potential effects.
Earlier, Watson, whose side made a belated start to the new season due to St Helens’ involvement in the World Club Challenge, had demanded Trinity relinquish the points if they had failed the Tuesday inspection.
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
Wakefield chairman John Minards
Watson said: “We needed to get the game on. We’re already a week behind everyone else so another game off would have been a real kick in the teeth.
“I think all this could have been avoided with a little bit more proper planning. It looks like it’s been a bit over-used since it was put down and not allowed the grass to knit.
“But we train on surfaces like this at Siddal all the time so hopefully that experience will help us and we’ve got a good medical team who’ve got things in place to deal with anything that arises.
“It (wearing skins) is something we’re going to put to the players tomorrow and some might feel more confident wearing them. But we’re just happy the game’s on so we can build on some of the good stuff we did last week.”