Hunslet Hawks gave a good account of themselves as they were beaten 40-20 by Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the Super League outfit’s final trial game, at South Leeds Stadium.
Wildcats ran in seven tries, on-loan Leeds Rhinos centre Luke Briscoe catching the eye with a first half brace, while Paul Sykes - playing at stand-off - scored 14 points from a try and five conversions.
But Wakefield only really imposed themselves in a 15 minute spell either side of the break and Hawks - of the third tier Championship One - will take credit for the way they rallied to ‘win’ the second half 20-12 after trailing 28-0 at the interval.
Wildcats coach Richard Agar made a host of changes in the second period, introducing some young players off the bench and opting to finish the game with 12 men to avoid any more injuries to his already stretched senior squad.
Ex-Leeds player Liam Hood was not ready to make his Hawks debut and former Wakefield stalwart David March remained on the injured list, alongside another key man James Coyle.
Wildcats fielded their strongest-available side, but eight members of the senior squad - including the three overseas recruits who have yet to arrive - were unavailable.
England academy winger Max Jowitt was in the starting line-up, with another 16-year-old, Jordan Crowther, on the bench.
It was Jowitt who opened the scoring on eight minutes, nipping in at the corner from Ali Lauitiiti’s offload.
Hawks battled hard for the first 27 minutes and went close to getting on the scoreboard when hooker Matthew Tebb got over on the last, but was held up.
But Wildcats’ full-time strength and fitness told in the second quarter as they ran in four tries, two of them to Briscoe.
He pounced on a Hawks mistake to gallop 50 metres before skipper Danny Kirmond crossed after Matty Wildie, Sykes and Richard Mathers had handled.
Briscoe then made a long break, worked a one-two with Wildie and touched down for his second, before his offload was finished by Peter Fox.
Sykes added a clever solo try at the start of the second half, after Lauitiiti and Hawks substitute George Clarke had been sin-binned for fighting.
But Hawks dominated after that after changes disrupted Wakefield’s rhythm. They registered a deserved try courtesy of a piece of magic from Aaron Lyons, who sensational pass put Lee Brickwood over at the corner on 53 minutes.
And Brickwood crossed again eight minute later, this time after supporting Aston Wilson’s storming break.
Youngster Corbyn Kilday scrambled a try for Wildcats, converted by Jowitt, four minutes from time and it looked as though the visitors would shade the second period.
But with two minutes left big James Davies powered over for Hawks and then John Oakes scrambled the hosts’ fourth try as the hooter sounded, Stuart Kain converting both.
Wildcats wore prop Andy Raleigh’s testimonial kit after his official benefit game - at home to Huddersfield Giants - was called off last week.
Hawks held a collection for Raleigh and donated the proceeds of their part-time draw to his testimonial fund, raising £500.
Hunslet Hawks: Kain, Mapals, Watson, Maun, Brickwood, T Coyle, Ansell, Houston,, Tebb, Stenchion, Oakes, Lyons, Mackay. Subs Canterbury, Grimshaw, Davies, Reed, Broughton, Clarke, Wilson.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Briscoe, Lyne, Jowitt, Washbrook, Sykes, D Smith, Wildie, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Trout. Subs Walshaw, Shulver, Anderson, Moore, Kilday, Crowther, Molloy, Johnstone, Maskill.
Referee: Tom Crashley (Wakefield). Attendance: 793.