AN AMAZING fightback either side of half-time came to nothing as Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were beaten 42-28 by visitors Catalans Dragons yesterday.
There were boos from the home fans when Todd Carney’s superb pass put Glenn Stewart through a huge gap to score Catalans’ fifth try and open a 26-0 lead after only 27 minutes.
Remarkably, the home team went in at the break with a fighting chance after scoring two tries in four minutes just before the half ended – and the gap was down to four points with 51 left on the clock.
That was as close as Wildcats got, but they proved when they get some attacking momentum they can pile on the points.
The rally began when impressive Anthony Tupou showed great determination to force his way over from Liam Finn’s pass.
And then Tupou and Ben Jones-Bishop shifted the ball wide for Joe Arundel to cross at the corner.
Finn converted both to make it 26-12 at the break and the game was back in the balance just four minutes into the second half when Tupou and Jacob Miller combined to put Lyne in.
Finn added another conversion from wide out to cut the gap to eight points and that was halved when Tom Johnstone scored an unconverted try at the corner from the No 7’s kick.
Wildcats had their tails up, but a controversial moment turned the game, Catalans being awarded the feed at a scrum deep in home territory.
From that Richie Myler jinked through the defence for a well-taken try and Pat Richard’s conversion made it 32-22.
That ended Wildcats’ fightback.
Tony Gigot forced his way over five minutes later and added a second with 10 minutes left, though the home side scored a late consolation through Mickael Simon, converted by Finn.
Myler’s reviving try came just after Catalans had reintroduced big prop Dave ‘Coal Train’ Taylor from the bench.
He had got the visitors on the front foot early on and they lost their way after he was replaced, though Wakefield were aided by a 14-7 advantage in the penalty count.
Catalans are a huge side, packed with skilful players when they decide to put the effort in.
For the first half an hour they were far too good, with Carney calling the shots and involved in all their tries before the interval. Jodie Broughton got Catalans on the scoreboard after six minutes from Krisnan Inu’s pass after he had been teed up by Carney.
Taylor grubbered in goal for Vincent Duport to touch down and then Pat Richards – who kicked three first half goals – out-jumped Reece Lyne to collect Carney’s kick.
Jasoin Baitieri crashed over from Carney’s pass close to the line and then Stewart completed the French side’s first half haul.
Wakefield Wildcats: Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Hall, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Sio, England, Molloy, Ashurst., Simon. Subs A Tupou, Arona, Howarth, Anderson.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot, Broughton, Inu, Duport, Richards, Carney, Myler, L Anderson, Pelissier, Taylor, Stewart, Horo, Baitieri. Subs Casty, Bousquet, Bosc, Mason.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).