DISAPPOINTED BOSS Brian Smith felt Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were the cause of their own downfall in a 20-18 defeat at Hull KR.
Rovers looked to be there for the taking eight days after their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final drubbing by Leeds Rhinos. but an error-ridden final 50 minutes from Wakefield allowed the hosts to snatch two vital points.
Wildcats remain fourth in the First Utility Super-8s table, but Smith admitted yesterday’s result increased the pressure ahead of Saturday’s visit of Widnes Vikings.
The top-three after seven rounds will qualify for Super League, with the fourth-placed side playing fifth in a one-off shoot-out for the final spot.
“Next week will be an absolutely vital game for us,” said Smith, whose team have a 50 per cent record after four rounds. We had a great opportunity today, I thought, on the opening to the game.
“If we had performed to the level we are capable of we could be sitting in a completely different position to the one we are in now.”
Wildcats dominated the opening stages and led 12-0 after 22 minutes, but Lee Smith, twice and Jordan Tansey failed with conversion attempts. Rovers closed the gap to 12-10 at half-time and went 20-12 ahead, before a late Lee Smith try and goal set up a tense finish.
“We brought about our own demise with a very poor last play in attack and a very poor last play in defence in the first half,” Smith said. “We pretty much dominated most of the rest of it, but that gave them a breath and a bit of interest and a reason to come back. In the second half we lost our shape and our impetus. We allowed Rovers to hang in the game for long enough, so that sooner or later someone was going to come up with something. They did first and we did second, but it wasn’t enough.”
Two of the missed conversion attempts were from close to the posts and Smith added: “Goal kicking as well was a vital factor. We think we’ve got two or three of the best goal kickers around. Two of them had an off day.”
Meanwhile, Smith said there is no truth in speculation Wildcats have signed Jordan Rankin from Hull for next season.