AN ASTONISHING 25 minutes at KC Stadium might just transform Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ season and go along way towards keeping them in First Utility Super League.
Trailing Hull 16-0, Wildcats looked to be heading for a seventh consecutive defeat in all competitions, but from somewhere they found the passion, energy and skill to turn the game – and possibly their season – on its head.
Wildcats’ 23-16 victory was thoroughly deserved - and made all the most important by relegation rivals Bradford Bulls’ shock win over Warrington Wolves.
Richard Mathers, playing on the right-wing, sneaked over from a superb pass by makeshift centre Matt Ryan on 55, five minutes to get Wakefield off the mark.
Nine later Wildcats’ Chris Riley and opponent Jason Crookes were sin-binned following a punch-up.
Ill-feeling simmered throughout the second half, but Wildcats handled it much better than their hosts, who collapsed in a heap after scoring their third – and as it turned out, last – try on 50 minutes.
The penalty following the yellow cards went to Wildcats and in the resulting set Daniel Smith powered his way over for a try which was converted by Jarrod Sammut.
Almost immediately Paul Sykes and Danny Washbrook carved out a well-taken try for Lucas Walshaw and Sammut’s nerveless conversion from the touchline levelled the scores.
Hull could have gone back in front, but Ben Crooks was off target with a penalty attempt with 10 minutes left and Wildcats punished the mistake.
A Pita Godinet break came to naught when his kick was gathered by Gareth Ellis, but then Richard Moore offloaded, Sykes fed Godinet, he found Danny Washbrook and Sammut was there to take the pass and go between the posts.
The same player converted and then Sykes banged over a drop goal to complete a priceless win.
The thrilling and action-packed second period was in contrast to a dull first half. Wakefield had just one serious chance, when Walshaw got over from Riley’s pass, but the near-side touchjudge raised his flag for a foot on the whitewash.
Hull scored two tries in the opening 40 to lead 12-0 at the break. The opener came on 18 minutes when Danny Houghton crossed at the end of a move in which he was involved three times, with Jacob Miller and Josh Bowden also handling.
Then a minute before the break Aaron Heremaia raced into a huge gap and Jordan Rankin was in support to go over from a simple try, to which Crooks added his second conversion.
Hull came out for the second half as if they’d had an interval blast from their coach Lee Radford. They could have added to their lead through Chris Tuson, the forward who signed for Wakefield last year only to later change his mind, but he knocked-on stretching over.
Then ex-Wildcat Ellis was held up over the line before, on 50 minutes, Crooks touched down at the corner, from a pass which was clearly forward.
Though the centre couldn’t convert it looked like Hull had the points in the bag, but they were snatched away by one of Super League’s great fightbacks.
Hull: Shaul, Crookes, Crooks, Yeaman, Talanoa, Rankin, Miller, Paea, Houghton, Bowden, Ellis, Hadley, Westerman. Subs (all used) Heremaia, Thompson, Paleaaesina, Tuson.
Wakefield trinity wildcats: Sammut, Mathers, Ryan, Walshaw, Riley, Sykes, Siejka, Anderson, McShane, Scruton, Washbrook, Kirmond, Smith. Subs (all used) Godinet, Moore, Molloy, Fairbank.
referee: Tim Roby (Preston).