A YEAR ago Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were in a losing habit they couldn’t break. Now it looks like they have forgotten how not to win.
Yesterday’s 25-24 victory over Catalans Dragons at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle was Wakefield’s ninth in 10 games since coach Chris Chester took charge before Easter.
A week after beating leaders Warrington Wolves, they shattered Catalans Dragons’ hopes of going top of First Utility Super League thanks to Jacob Miller’s sensational drop goal from halfway, with two minutes remaining.
It was another amazing victory for Trinity, who trailed 14-0 in the first half and were behind in the final quarter.
Miller had a fine game and was a deserved match-winner, though Liam Finn’s goal kicking – converting all four tries – was crucial.
In contrast, Pat Richards, normally one of the best in the business, hit the target just twice from six attempts.
Most impressively, Wakefield’s pack – missing suspended duo Scott Moore and Anthony England – stood up to Catalans’ giant forwards.
It took 17 minutes for the deadlock to be broken.
But then Catalans took control with quick-fire tries by Justin Horo, Jodie Broughton and Tony Gigot and it seemed Wakefield’s bubble might have burst.
Instead, their fightback showed just how far they have come under Chester.
Ben Jones-Bishop’s touchdown, from a mistake by Vincent Duport, cut the interval deficit to eight points at the break.
Four minutes into the second half Miller’s kick caused chaos in the Dragons defence and the same player then hurled out a long pass, on the half-volley, to Joe Arundel and Jones-Bishop dived over at the corner.
Trinity were in front six minutes later. Duport’s tackle kept Danny Kirmond out, but on the next play Miller’s pass found Mickey Sio and he crossed between the posts.
That made it 18-14, but Duport powered in soon afterwards and then Broughton grabbed his second with a strong finish at the corner.
Had Richards – who converted Broughton’s first try and Duport’s – been able to add the extras Catalans would have been two scores clear with a quarter of the game left.
But the miss kept Trinity in touch and they levelled nine minutes from time when Frenchman Mickael Simon barged over against his former club, after a spell of heavy pressure.
With four minutes left, Simon was penalised for a ball steal 40 metres out, in front of the sticks, but Richards’ kick hit a post, bounced straight to Chris Annakin and Miller booted his one-pointer in the resulting set.
Wakefield dropped Wildcats from their name for the Magic Weekend and will make it permanent at the end of this season.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Hall, Arundel, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Sio, Simon, Ashurst, Kirmond, A Tupou. Subs B Tupou, Arona, Anderson, Annakin.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot, Broughton, Horo, Duport, Richards, Carney, Bosc, Taylor, Pelissier, Casty, Stewart, Anderson, Baitieri. Subs Bousquet, Mounis, Mason, Da Costa.
Referee: Chris Campbell (Warrington).