WRETCHED Wakefield were the architects of their own downfall last night as their hopes of breaking back into the top-four took a battering at Huddersfield Giants.
Chris Chester’s side looked anything but a potential semi-final outfit following a woeful first half in their Super 8s opener.
They were fortunate to only go in 18-6 behind as error followed error in a mistake-ridden 40 minutes from which they could never properly recover.
There was some glaring ones, too, as Trinity simply failed to get going against their eighth-placed opponents.
Both wingers endured miserable starts; Ben Jones-Bishop spilled after being pushed behind his own line to serve up a seventh minute gift for Danny Brough and then Mason Caton-Brown coughed up, too, to concede position for another soon after.
This time, the ball was shifted left where decent hands from the excellent Jordan Rankin furnished Darnell McIntosh, Brough converting for a 10-0 lead inside the opening 11 minutes.
Both Jones-Bishop and Caton-Brown went on to drop trademark Brough spiral kicks while the former put his side under further pressure with a needless pass in his own 20 that went straight into touch.
When James Hasson, the replacement prop recently signed from Salford Red Devils, lost possession with his first carry, Ryan Hinchcliffe scurried in from 30m for Brough to improve once more. After Jones-Bishop’s ill-conceived pass, Trinity conceded two penalties near their own line, Brough slotting another two points after David Fifita pulled back Lee Gaskell as the Giants stand-off chased his own grubber.
In amid all this chaos, the visitors did have a couple of chances of their own but both captain Danny Kirmond and a marauding Tinirau Arona being dragged down just short on the last tackle.
They got some luck, though, as the half drew towards a close; Jones-Bishop’s dropped kick went backwards to Scott Grix and, soon after, the former Leeds Rhinos winger was challenging at the other end for an attacking kick.
He palmed it down and colleague Sam Williams scruffily hacked on.
Rankin should have negated the danger but he erred and Williams collected for Liam Finn to leave his side just 12 behind at the interval.
Initially, Wakefield came out for the second period with a much improved attitude and applied plenty of pressure.
Replacement prop Keegan Hirst, in particular, made good yards while Arona and Kyle Wood were typically busy.
However, they badly lacked a cutting edge – Jacob Miller was not deemed fit enough yet to return from a broken leg – and Huddersfield survived.
That said, Rick Stone’s side, in contrast, began to play increasingly dumb, too, with some strange options of their own.
But Brough calmed things down with a penalty in the 56th minute before Leroy Cudjoe, Jermaine McGillvary and ex-Trinity forward Daniel Smith duly tagged on tries in the final quarter, leaving Wakefield badly needing to regroup ahead of Thursday’s visit from Leeds Rhinos.
Chester bemoaned: “I have seen some things on a rugby field I have not seen for a long, long time.
“I can cop getting beat by a better side. But I can’t cope with getting beaten on desire and effort.
“I wouldn’t expect my Under 16s or 19s teams to make the kind of errors of some of those blokes did there. We are killing ourselves. A few out on that field who won’t be playing next week.
“We are in a bit of a hole and I can’t put my finger on it.”
Huddersfield Giants: Rankin; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, McIntosh; Gaskell, Brough; Rapira, Leeming, Wakeman, Ta’ai, Ikahihifo, Hinchcliffe. Substitutes: O’Brien, Mellor, Clough, Smith.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Caton-Brown; Williams, Finn; England, Wood, Fifita, Kirmond, Ashurst, Hadley. Substitutes: Arona, Annakin, Hirst, Hasson.
Referee: Tom Grant (Leeds)