Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach Brian Smith was proud of his side even as they suffered a 32-12 loss to Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
It was a 16th straight defeat for Super League’s bottom side but Smith, in charge for a second match since taking over, saw the sort of positive signs he is looking for as he bids to turn around their fortunes.
“In the main, I’m proud of my players, they were extremely difficult circumstances,” he said. “The heat was significant, some of our boys were quite courageous. I’m pretty happy with the efforts that they put in to stay in the contest.
“I thought Tim Smith was quite outstanding again today for us, he was probably our best player for us last week along with Mika Simon. Today I thought they put in very good performances. I also liked Jon Molloy who came off the bench today, he did a good job for us.”
Late tries from Eloi Pelissier, Morgan Escare and Louis Anderson gave the Dragons’ win a gloss it scarcely deserved as Wakefield battled hard, wiping out an early 12-0 lead to draw level and almost making Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous regret his decision to rest a number of players ahead of Thursday’s Challenge Cup tie against Hull KR.
However, while he was pleased with what he saw, Smith knows he cannot get ahead of himself given the scale of the task at Wakefield.
“We need to start converting some of the better play that we have in our game into 80 minutes or get it closer to the 80 minutes,” he said. “We couldn’t quite finish the game off and we had some horrible lapses in the first half that created two tries for them.”
It was Eloi Pelissier, Morgan Escare and Louis Anderson who spared the Catalans Dragons’ blushes as their late tries earned the victory. The hosts were in danger of throwing away a 12-0 half-time lead as Wakefield, with Jacob Miller kept in the full-back spot, fighting back to level before a late burst condemned them to another defeat.
Despite taking a 12-point lead after 10 minutes, the home side’s indiscipline cost them. Ben Pomeroy opened the scoring for the hosts, supporting an initial break by French youngster Fouad Yaha, Scott Dureau adding the conversion
Debutant Krisnan Inu scored a superb individual try in the 10th minute, stepping and fending away Wakefield defenders to double the hosts’ lead.
That was as good as it got for both sides in the first half as they continued to drop the ball and waste opportunities. Wakefield fought back after the break and Chris Riley scored in the right corner after a break by Paul McShane to put the Wildcats on the front foot. Miller added the conversion to halve the deficit
Pita Godinet scored Wakefield’s second, dummying and stepping his way over, despite the best efforts of Catalans defender Remi Casty. Jacob Miller’s conversion saw Wakefield level the game.
Dureau added a 40-metre penalty 14 minutes from time after a high tackle before three tries in the final seven minutes saw Catalans win the game convincingly.
Pelissier scored under the posts after a half break by Jason Baitieri. Dureau again added the conversion. Escare added a further try two minutes later under the posts. Dureau’s conversion took the score to 26-12. Two minutes frm time Anderson charged over from 30 metres after dummying his way through the Wakefield line. Dureau again converted.