THERE IS no stopping Wakefield Trinity’s current rise.
In all fairness, they should really have lost this absorbing West Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield Giants.
That they dug out a way to victory, their fifth straight win, says plenty about not only the skill but spirit of Chris Chester’s side who remain on the brink of the top-four.
They trailed for most of the game but held their nerve at the last to see Ben Jones-Bishop score his second of the night – and 14th this season – in the 70th minute.
It still needed Sam Williams to land the conversion from wide out, though, and, given the Australian had not attempted a kick since coming on for Liam Finn, it was no easy feat.
For Huddersfield, however, this was tough to endure. They seemed set for a third win from four games which would breathe life into their campaign especially with the imminent arrival of former Hull FC and St Helens star Jordan Turner from Canberra Raiders.
With Jake Mamo in scintillating form – ironically the full-back’s one glaring error allowed the hosts a sniff – and big contributions from the likes of Sebastine Ikahihifo and Kruise Leeming, they looked ready to build on their Magic Weekend win over Catalans Dragons.
Wakefield, whose centre Joe Arundel has signed a new two-year deal, got off to a flier when Jones-Bishop, the former Leeds Rhinos winger in such fine form, crossed after just three minutes.
He dived in following an excellent assist from Reece Lyne, the strapping centre who is arguably producing some of his best football yet.
Finn added the first of his three kicks but unperturbed Huddersfield responded with a devastating spell of three tries in just 11 minutes.
Mamo, typically, was at the heart of that purple spell.
The Australian full-back, such a livewire since debuting last month, bumped off a tackler before stretching over for his seventh try in six games.
Martin Ridyard converted and they struck again soon after when making the most of a questionable penalty.
Ridyard and Gaskell combined before Mamo supplied the final long pass – admittedly it went to ground – for England winger Jermaine McGillvary to do what he does best.
Mamo’s short pass them supplied Lee Gaskell who twisted over from close range in the 22nd minute, Wakefield’s goalline defence again alarmingly weak, Ridyard giving them that 18-6 lead.
Trinity struggled to get out of their own half but it was mainly due to self-inflicted damage.
They gifted position for Gaskell’s try, conceding a high tackle on Darnell McIntosh as the Huddersfield winger returned a kick, but there was other examples.
Scott Grix’s loose pass during a rare attacking raid was intercepted by McGillvary, Mamo was able to weave 40m clear after a flimsy kick-chase, before Jacob Miller fired another kick straight down McIntosh’s throat.
In searing conditions, it played right into the hands of the Giants.
They finally escaped when Mason Caton-Brown broke 50m but Mamo – who else? – was there to deny the Wakefield winger.
Nevertheless, Chris Chester’s side did give themselves a chance with two tries before the break.
Lyne surged onto a long pass and left Aaron Murphy grounded to score from 20m out in the 32nd minute.
Finn missed the conversion but made no mistake when captain Danny Kirmond hit Williams’ short pass with just 90 seconds of the half remaining.
At the start of the second period, Ryan Hinchcliffe was needed to prevent Williams scoring after Kirmond’s break but the visitors seemed to have taken command again when Gaskell produced a classy 40/20.
From there, it was the former Bradford Bulls’ star’s clever pass that sent ex-Trinity second-row Dale Ferguson barrelling over for Ridyard to improve once more.
Mamo endured that moment of madness, however, when trying to let Williams’ kick bounce dead only to see Lyne to sneak in and touch down in the 56th minute, Finn narrowing the deficit to just two points again.
That proved critical; for all Ridyard’s 67th-minute penalty increased Giants’ lead it was never likely to be enough as it proved.
Wakefield head to champions Wigan Warriors on Monday in confident mood but Huddersfield can take positives aplenty too ahead of their visit from Warrington Wolves especially as Danny Brough returns from a ban.
Wakefield Trinity: Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Catn-Brown; Miller, Finn; England, Wood, Fifita, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Substitutes: Williams, Batchelor, Huby, Hirst.
Huddersfield Giants: Mamo; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Murphy, McIntosh; Gaskell, Ridyard; Rapira, Leeming, Ikahihifo, Mellor, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe. Substitutes: O’Brien, Wakeman, Roberts, Clough.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).