BOSS BRIAN Smith could barely hide his disappointment – and possibly anger – after Wakefield Trinity Wildcats went down 34-26 at Salford Red Devils yesterday, writes PETER SMITH.
Wakefield trailed 16-0 just before the break, but twice took the lead in the second half and were within 10 minutes of opening their Qualifiers campaign with a win.
“It wasn’t all together to do with how we played, there was plenty of other stuff today,” Smith said in his post-match press conference.
“We played against a team that was faultless virtually, apart from Ben Jones-Bishop not fielding a ball for a very likely try.
“That was the only error they committed until the very last couple of minutes and they also managed to get through the half without conceding a penalty, which I reckon is a tall order – very, very clever.”
Asked if a repeat of yesterday’s level of performance could keep Wildcats up, Smith added: “I am not sure, there’s things that are so far out of our control.
“I understand it is very, very hard to play when you feel like you’re the ‘B’ team in a training game.
“When you play at training, the ‘B’ team does just what the ‘A’ team wants them to do.
“We referee it that way so that all the things are manufactured so we can practice exactly what we want to do.”
Smith said Salford played as the ‘A’ team “for the first half. As soon as things changed, we changed.
“We changed and things changed, there was a bit of both.
“As soon as we got into that ‘A’ team opportunity and executed like we can, they couldn’t hold us.
“Then we didn’t finish that job off.”
Bill Tupou was tackled with the ball, when his winger Richard Owen had a clear run to the line, seconds before Salford scored the try which gave them the lead for the final time. Of that incident, Smith said: “I think it would be ridiculous to assess one individual’s decision or lack of execution or whatever.
“It was way more than that.”
Wakefield’s next match is at home to Bradford Bulls on Saturday.