WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats’ 16-game losing run in First Utility Super League is over.
New Zealand international Kevin Locke was in inspirational form on his debut as Wildcats hit back from 16-0 down to beat Hull 26-16 at Belle Vue last night.
Locke had a hand in two of Wildcats’ four tries, while Jacob Miller put the boot into his former team, touching down and kicking five goals.
Wildcats were overrun in the opening quarter, but managed to stem the tide before the break and a 10-point gap meant they were still well in the game going into the second half.
A try soon after the interval cut the gap to just four points and they were level with 24 minutes left.
That’s a situation Wildcats are not used to, but they kept the pressure on and two penalties either side of a converted try sealed a morale-boosting success.
Hull looked on course for a big win early on, running in three tries in the opening 18 minutes.
They exploited some weak defence to go 12-0 up after seven minutes, Kirk Yeaman slicing through from Jordan Abdull’s pass after three minutes before Liam Watts powered over after Abdull and Joe Westerman had combined.
Jordan Rankin converted the first two and then stretched over for Hull’s third touchdown on 18 minutes, moments after Locke had produced a stunning tackle to keep Jamie Shaul out.
Setaimata Sa was twice denied, firstly by Reece Lyne and then Paul McShane, who held him up over the line with 13 minutes of the half left.
That proved a turning point in the game.
With Pita Godinet starting to call the shots, Wakefield finally managed to mount an attack six minutes later, thanks to back-to-back penalties and it produced six points, Miller shrugging off the defence for a fine solo touchdown which he also converted.
Miller came into the side at late notice when Tim Smith was ruled out due to a knee injury and he added a brilliant touchline conversion early in the second half after Richard Owen had touched down from Locke’s clever long pass..
Locke began the attack which led to Wildcats’ equalising try, on 54 minutes, intercepting Curtis Naughton’s pass deep in Wildcats’ territory.
He didn’t have support, but held on to the ball and in the resulting set Joe Arundel went over from a pass by Godinet.
Miller could not convert, but he was on target with a penalty at the end of the third quarter. Initially, Mickey Paea was penalised and placed on report following a tackle which resulted in Danny Washbrook going off.
On the next play, Watts – who also seemed to be involved in the earlier incident – went high on Reece Lyne and Miller took the two points to edge Wakefield in front.
Wildcats moved two scores in front when Matt Ryan finished from another Godinet pass, Miller converting and wrapping up a famous win with a penalty three minutes from time.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Locke, Owen, Arundel, Lyne, Tansey, Godinet, Miller, Scruton, McShane, Simon, Ryan, Kirke, Molloy. Substitutes: Washbrook, Annakin, Kavanagh, Sio.
Hull: Shaul, Naughton, Talanoa, Yeaman, Michaels, Abdull, Rankin, Paea, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Sa, Westerman. Substitutes: Hadley, Bowden, Thompson, Green.
Referee: Joe Cobb (Leigh).
Warrington Wolves will give a debut to second rower Sam Wilde for tonight’s Super League visit of Wigan Warriors.
After losing James Laithwaite to injury and Ben Currie to suspension, the Wolves hope to have full-back or winger Matty Russell back from a three-month lay-off with a knee injury.
Wigan have centre Anthony Gelling back after two months on the sidelines with a double tear of his hamstring, which enables Joel Tomkins to revert to the pack in place of the rested John Bateman.