WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS were shown what they are missing when Huddersfield Giants won 44-14 at Belle Vue yesterday.
Giants’ first 30 points were scored by ex-Wakefield players: Scott Grix running in a hat-trick, Brett Ferres also touching down and Danny Brough adding a try and five conversions.
Leroy Cudjoe and Ukuma Ta’ai ruined the stat by scoring the final two tries – one of them improved by Brough – and Jamie Ellis kicked a couple of late goals, but it was an illustration of the difference in resources between the two clubs and the problems Wakefield face as they battle to stay in Super League.
That struggle is getting tougher for Wildcats, who are on a four-game losing run and have slipped to bottom of First Utility Super League, despite a spirited display for a long spell which saw them rally from 18-0 down to 18-14.
Coach James Webster felt they had the momentum at that stage, but he admitted: “We shot ourselves in the foot.
“You can’t win games when you complete at 45 per cent in the second half.
“It has been our Achilles heel all year and we continue to do it.
“Until we stop it we won’t win any games.”
Grix’s hat-trick came through tries after 63 seconds, five minutes and five seconds and 8.51, for Super League’s quickest treble from the start of a game.
Brough converted all three, the third from the touchline and Wakefield found themselves 18-0 down.
At that stage they had two choices: chuck in the towel, as they did in the round three defeat at Widnes Vikings, or roll their sleeves up.
To their credit, they did the latter and the gap was down to 10 points at the interval and four soon afterwards, before Giants woke up to dominate the final half an hour.
Dean Collis got Wakefield off the mark with a try on 16 after Richard Owen had knocked back Tim Smith’s kick.
Then on 23 the Giants defence hesitated, expecting referee Joe Cobb to blow for a knock-on by Tim Smith, but the officla reckoned the ball had gone backwards, Ali Lauitiiti picked up and rampaged across field and his pass was finished by Danny Kirmond, against his former club.
Hall couldn’t convert either and Wakefield twice had an escape when Jack Hughes first spilled Cudjoe’s pass with the line open and then knocked-on just short in Paul McShane’s tackle.
Daniel Smith crossed at the other end, but McShane’s pass was clearly forward and it didn’t count, then in the final seconds of the half Giants’ big forward Eorl Crabtree was held up over the line.
Wildcats’ injury problems, particularly in the pack, have given teenager Jordan Crowther a chance for some senior game time.
He showed up well and capped a strong display off the bench by reacting quickly to touch down McShane’s clever low kick eight minutes into the half, moments after Chris Riley seemed to have scored only for the in-goal judge to spot a ball-steal over the line.
Hall converted to cut Giants’ lead to four points and a stunning Wakefield victory was on the cards.
But their revival was extinguished when Owen’s pass was intercepted by Brough and in the same set he sent Brett Ferres over and added the extras to make it 24-14
Brough then dabbed through and touched down after his initial kick had been spilled by Owen, before Cudjoe went over 10 minutes from time, Brough landing his sixth goal.
Jamie Ellis took over the kicking to land a late penalty goal and as the hooter sounded Ta’ai crossed following another Owen mistake, Ellis adding the extras.
Webster added: “We didn’t start well enough. I am not being disrespectful to Huddersfield, they put 40 points on us and they weren’t at their best, that’s the disappointing thing.”
Wildcats gave debuts to on-loan Salford Red Devils forward George Griffin and ex-Castleford Tigers and Hull centre Joe Arundel.
Webster said Owen is a doubt for Friday’s trip to Wigan Warriors and he added: “We’ve got four or five blokes playing with needles very week, just out of necessity.”
There was a minute’s applause in the 63rd minute of yesterday’s game in memory of Leon Walker, the 20-year-old Wakefield player who died during a reserve game at Celtic Crusaders in south Wales six years ago.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Hall, Riley, Collis, Arundel, Owen, Miller, T Smith, Scruton, Washbrook, Griffin, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Ryan. Subs (all used): McShane, Simon, D Smith, Crowther.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Ellis, Huby, Robinson, Kopczak, Ferres, Ta’ai, Lawrence. Subs (all used): Crabtree, Hughes, Wood, Johnson.
Referee: Joe Cobb.