RECENT RECRUIT Adam Walker is struggling to come to terms with Wakefield Trinity’s agonising one-point defeat by Castleford Tigers.
But he reckons once he and his team-mates get over the initial disappointment, Trinity’s squad will take great heart from a performance which proved they can compete with the best in Betfred Super League.
Wakefield looked to be heading for a shock win when they led the runaway table-toppers 16-0 at half-time.
Cas fought back to lead 18-16 inside the third quarter, but Wakefield went 24-18 ahead with eight minutes left, only for a converted try to level matters before Luke Gale landed a last-gasp winning drop goal for Tigers.
It was Walker’s fifth appearance since joining Trinity from St Helens and he admitted the result was hard to take.
“It is really gutting to lose like that – I can’t believe it really,” reflected the 26-year-old Scottish international front-rower.
“We started so well, we started too well in some ways.
“They came out in the second half and we always knew momentum would change at some point, but it’s how you handle it.
“We didn’t handle it the best and Cas – who are a great side – thrived on it.”
But Walker stressed Trinity’s first-half performance in particular will give them “great encouragement” for the rest of the season.
He said: “Some people might think we were on top for all of it, but we actually started D-ing up [defending] quite a bit against Cas.
“We came against that adversity and we managed to get some points from it, kicking on to show how tough as a team we can be both mentally and physically.”
David Fifita made a surprise return from injury and scored a try to to put Trinity back in the lead 10 minutes from time and Walker was impressed with how Wakefield rallied after being under the cosh for a long spell.
“Some teams would have been written off by that stage, but when we came back with that try it just showed how we can be mentally strong,” he added.
“It was a great game of rugby.”
The defeat left Wakefield in fifth spot with two games remaining in the regular season, but Walker insisted a top-four place is still within reach.
He said: “That’s what we’re looking forward to – getting in the top four.
“We have a massive game at Widnes next week and we need to win that.
“We have to keep pushing on and can’t let our heads go now.”
Walker – brother of former Tigers prop Jonathan Walker – began his career at Huddersfield Giants and joined St Helens from Hull KR at the end of last season. He failed to command a regular place and signed for Wakefield in May on a contract until the end of 2019.
He suffered a knee injury on his Wakefield debut against Wigan Warriors, but returned earlier than expected and has played in the last three games.
“I’m loving it,” he said of his new club. “The physios looked after me when I was injured and I came back quite early.
“I am feeling strong and getting back to fitness. I needed to get some games under my belt.
“Now my match fitness is coming back I’m looking to get back to my best and I am enjoying it.”