A HUGE effort was put into ensuring Wakefield Trinity’s home game against Huddersfield Giants could be played and a record-breaking 22-4 victory made it all worthwhile.
The snow which prevented the game going ahead on Friday night was removed by volunteers the following day and their hard work paved the way for Trinity’s fourth successive win which makes this their best start to a Super League season.
It was close up to half-time, when Trinity led 6-4, but Giants’ discipline went to pieces in the third quarter and a flurry of penalties - and yellow card - allowed Wakefield to pull clear.
Both teams defended well, but Wakefield’s tackling in the opening few minutes – when they were under huge pressure – laid the platform.
Wakefield were without left-winger Tom Johnstone, who had some discomfort in a leg and was not risked, but Ben Jones-Bishop, who plays on the opposite flank, scored a brace and Johnstone’s replacement Mason Caton-Brown got the other. The influential Liam Finn kicked immaculately, landing five goals. Trinity’s forwards were outstanding.
Giants attacked throughout the first 15 minutes, forcing a scrum near Wakefield’s line – due to a fumble by Scott Grix – and three drop-outs.
A very strong Wakefield defensive effort kept the hosts’ line intact and they counter-attacked to open the scoring midway through the half, Jones-Bishop missing one chance and then taking another.
He broke clear from inside his own half, with Finn in support, but opted not to pass and was tackled by Jake Mamo.
On the next tackle, Finn grubbered over the line and, after a huge scramble, Grix looked to have touched down, but referee Gareth Hewer awarded a 20 metres restart.
From that a scuffle led to a Trinity penalty and Tinirau Arona thought he had scored from Kyle Wood’s pass, but Hewer said Mamo had held him up. Wood had been expected to miss several games due to an ankle injury suffered at Catalans in the previous game, but was a shock inclusion in the side.
Trinity showed Giants how to attack from a drop-out when they eventually took the lead, Jones-Bishop finishing well at the corner after Finn, Craig Huby and Grix had handled. Finn converted brilliantly from the touchline.
Wakefield’s defence again stood up in the face of three successive Giants penalties, particularly the right-side who muscled up to shove Aaron Murphy into touch when he looked set to cross from Jordan Turner’s pass.
Huby was close to adding a second try for Trinity, but he stumbled chasing a low kick by Finn and the ball rolled dead. Giants eventually found a way through just before the interval. More outstanding scrambling defence halted Mamo just short, but Lee Gaskell went over on the next play from acting-half Kruise Leeming’s pass. Brough’s missed conversion was the difference between the sides at half-time.
Finn’s boot put more distance between the teams at the start of the second half when Trinity were awarded five successive penalties and Finn converted the third and fifth of them to make it 10-4.
Giants were put on a team warning following the fifth penalty and another soon afterwards led to Leeming being sin-binned.
Yet another penalty set up the field position for Trinity’s second try, on 58 minutes. Grix was halted just short, but Finn chip-kicked to the corner and Jones-Bishop touched down. Finn’s touchline goal put two converted tries between the teams, and Trinity completed an impressive win in the final moments when Caton-Brown pounced on an error by Gaskell and Finn landed another goal from wide out.
Friday’s postponement, plus efforts to get the game on, cost Trinity around £20,000, including a £15,000 fee from Sky TV.
The game was played in misty conditions and – unusually – an orange ball was used.
The pitch was soft, but held up remarkably well.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix, Jones-Bishop, Arundel, Tupou, Caton-Brown, Miller, Finn, Fifita, Wood, England, Kirmond, Ashurst, Arona. Subs Hampshire, Huby, Pauli, Hirst.
Huddersfield Giants: Mamo, McGillvary, Gaskell, Turner, Murphy, Rankin, Brough, Clough, O’Brien, Ta’ai, Roberts, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe.SubsLeeming, Ikahihifo, Smith, Symonds.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).