Wakefield Trinity 18 Catalans Dragons 38 - wait for first win continues after late collapse
The long wait for Wakefield Trinity’s first win of the season goes on, but they played well for much of a 38-18 loss to Catalans Dragons at Mobile Rocket Stadium, Belle Vue.
Trinity have made a habit of collapsing after the break this year, but left it late this time, being only two points adrift until Dragons scored three converted tries in the final 12 minutes.
While Catalans were the better team, the 20-point margin didn’t reflect Trinity’s effort - though errors and poor decision-making at crucial times proved costly.
Wakefield coach Chris Chester admitted: “It was another disappointing loss, another game where we put in a lot of effort, but [there was] a lack of quality in the team.”
Trinity could have gone ahead in the final quarter, but Liam Kay had a touchdown ruled out for a forward pass and Chester felt that was one of a number of marginal decisions which went against his men.
A penalty and six-again laid the foundation for Catalans’ opening try, after nine minutes.
Ben Garcia and James Maloney moved the ball left and Dean Whare’s fine pass put in-form winger Tom Davies over at the corner for the first of his hat-trick.
The lead was short-lived though, as Catalans failed to complete their set from the restart and Trinity hit straight back through debutant Olly Ashall-Bott.
Signed on an initial two-week loan from Huddersfield Giants, following injuries to Ryan Hampshire and Jacob Miller, the full-back’s smart footwork close to the line, from Mason Lino’s pass, left Catalans’ defence clutching at thin air as he cut through for a superb try,
‘Pressure relievers’ have been frustrating Chester all season, his side having developed a habit of making errors when they seem to have opponents on the ropes.
After Ashall-Bott’s try, Trinity received three successive penalties and then forced a line drop-out, but that was fumbled near half-way by winger Lee Kershaw and within five minutes, the hosts were 10 points behind.
At the end of the set from Kershaw’s error, Josh Drinkwater lofted a kick which was taken on the line by Mike McMeeken who continued his impressive run of form with Catalans’ second try.
A set restart following the restart put Trinity back under pressure and Davies went over again, off Sam Tomkins’ pass.
Both tries were converted, but Wakefield, again, came up with an immediate response, this time through Max Jowitt.
It was smart work, in the set from a penalty, the full-back - who was filling in as an emergency stand-off - kicking behind the defence and running through to touch down for a reviving try which Lino improved.
Four minutes before the interval, Wakefield again turned over possession and Whare extended their lead with a strong finish from Tomkins’ pass.
Aided by three penalties, Trinity drew first blood in the second period, through a lovely finish by Reece Lyne, off Joe Westerman’s pass.
Lino’s third goal made it a two-point ball game and it stayed that way until the 68th minute.
Brilliant Wakefield defence held Jason Baitieri up over the line, before Ben Garcia got across the whitewash, but spilled the ball.
Kay dived over at the other end, but Bill Tupou’s pass was ruled forward and that was a crucial call as Dragons scored next, Whare grabbing the try off McMeeken’s offload.
That took the steam out of Trinity, Davies’ third try settled it in the 78th minute, off Whare’s pass and Samisoni Langi scored in the next set, Maloney improving all three.
Wakefield Trinity: Ashall-Bott, Kershaw, Lyne, Tupou, Kay, Jowitt, Lino, Green, K Wood, Tanginoa, Pitts, Batchelor, Westerman. Subs Fifita, Arona, Battye, Eaves.
Catalans Dragons: S Tomkins, Davies, Langi, Whare, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Dyudson, McIlorum, Bousquet, Seguier, McMeeken, Garcia. Subs Mourgue, J Tomkins, Baitieri, Dezaria.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).