Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 28 Catalans Dragons 42: Coach Smith needs more than effort from his players

SOMETHING MORE than sheer effort is needed for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats to build a winning run, coach Brian Smith admits.

Monday, 7th March 2016, 5:15 am
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats' tryscorer Joe Arundel. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Wildcats suffered their third defeat in four First Utility Super League fixtures when they went down 42-28 at home to Catalans Dragons yesterday.

It was only Catalans’ third away win since the start of last season and two of those have been at Belle Vue.

Wakefield trailed 26-0 after 27 minutes, but narrowed the gap to just four before the visitors regained control.

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“We scored the final try of the game and the boys are still putting in,” Smith said.

“But there’s an old adage, you get no medals for trying. In professional sport you have got to be better than that.

“We weren’t at times and it cost us.”

Smith admitted his team must muscle up better when the opposition are in possession.

“I was very disappointed with our defensive performance in the first half,” he reflected.

“Then when we got ourselves back in the game we let ourselves down again with defensive problems.

“If you give up 42 [points] you are not going to win, I don’t think. That part has been very disappointing, because we are generally better than that.”

It was the second successive game in which Wakefield only got into gear after the opposition had built a big lead.

Warrington led 24-6 at the break in Wildcats’ previous match and Smith said: “We have got to learn how to go with the opposition early doors in games. The opening part of the game is vital. You are always chasing your tail and the energy battle is doubly difficult if the opposition have won that part of the game, so it’s back to the drawing board for us.”

The shining light for Wakefield was the performance of young winger Tom Johnstone, who scored one try and went close to grabbing another when he collected Joe Arundel’s short kick-off and forced his way almost to the line.

“He was absolutely outstanding,” Smith said. “We all love to see those breaks and tries and attacking things he did today, but in the early part of the game he kept us in it with some tremendous defence as well.”