WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats boss Brian Smith admitted his side’s performance at Huddersfield Giants is just what he is looking for as they prepare for the Qualifiers.
They lost 34-24 yesterday but were the better side in the second period and threatened to cause a shock at the top-four club.
“We scored three tries to one in that half,” said Smith, as Wakefield rounded off the regular season in bottom place with just three wins.
“I thought the second half in particular was exactly what we’re looking for and if we’d just finished off a little better we could have won.
“We certainly had dominance. Even at half-time (28-12 down) I thought we were not very far from where we wanted to be.
“Initially it was (Danny) Brough’s perfection with his kicking skills that did us but we got a bit better in dealing with that and when we went set-for-set we competed pretty well.
“We’ve definitely got to find another level for where we need to be at but I’m going away from here tonight pretty encouraged and I think my players are too.”
Smith criticised referee Chris Leatherbarrow, however, having claimed only two of the seven penalties his side conceded in the first half were “legitimate”.
“The boys were actually asking him, ‘Do you know what a surrender tackle is?’,” he said.
“He didn’t call one in the whole game, even though there were a lot in the match.
“I also don’t think he understands when there’s a big contact in the tackle sometimes players just lose the ball – it’s not always raked out.”
Ex-England hooker Scott Moore impressed having joined from Castleford Tigers on Thursday, fellow new boy Lee Smith crossed for a try while a third debutant Bill Tupou also showed promise.
Smith added: “Scott Moore was good for us in defence but he’s got that little bit of spark about him and a bit of rough and tumble, too.
“He likes the physical contact – you can tell – and for a guy who hasn’t played anything for ages Lee Smith had some nice touches, too.
“Bill was less obvious – there’s more to come from him – but it was hard on a slippery day to get too much ball to him as a centre.”