Wakefield Trinity's Willie Poching hails "importance" of key trio at Magic Weekend
WAKEFIELD Trinity interim head coach Willie Poching hailed his “three generals” as the club secured a 32-18 win against Huddersfield Giants at Magic Weekend.
It was a fourth success in five games since he took over from the sacked Chris Chester - who was watching in the crowd at Newcastle’s St James’ Park - and another spirited display.
Although scratchy at times, Trinity dug deep and never truly looked in trouble especially after Giants forward Sam Hewitt was sin-binned for leading with a forearm against Jordan Crowther in the 44th minute.
Playmakers Jacob Miller, Mason Lino and Kyle Wood came in for praise.
“I’m really proud of how they’ve come through the other end of a grind,” said Poching, about his side who led 14-6 at the break.
“As the game got into the fourth quarter I could see both teams’ energy levels starting to wane.
“I think you could see the loads these players have been through the last two weekends were catching up with them and taking its toll today.
“I didn’t think it was the best game. We weren’t able to play some of what we wanted.
“But I was proud of how the players were able to make their adjustments on their own on the field and be able to adapt to how the game was going.
“I put a lot of that on Mason Lino, Jacob Miller and - when he came on - Kyle Wood was very good for us at dummy half.
“He hasn’t played a lot for us this year but he’s been quite influential the last couple of weeks.
“Those three generals were pretty important for us.”
Tom Johnstone and Ryan Hampshire scored first half tries but Kelepi Tanginoa added a third when Giants were down to 12 men and Reece Lyne and - in his 150th Super League game - Chris Green added late tries.
It carries on Wakefield’s impressive return to form.
Poching added: “I’m really happy and proud at the boys for turning things around and giving themselves a chance to finish the season well.
“There’s a few areas of the game that we need to fix up - some were down to fatigue and tiredness.
“We lost our intent at periods but it was a wake-up call for us.
“Ultimately, though, I’m very proud of the boys for sticking together and getting it done for each other, and for the guys that had some milestones today.
“Joe Westerman made his 300th Super League appearance, Joe Arundel was in his 200th career game and Chris Green his 150th in Super League.
“I knew we’d have enough about us when we get some fresh legs on.”
The only downside was an injury to Johnstone, the England winger who departed in the 27th minute with another head knock - his third this season.
Poching said: “He seemed okay when I spoke to him after the game.
“But the medical staff saw him in a body position that was a sign for him that he wasn’t cohesive enough to go back out there.
“So they didn't even HIA him. Such is Tom’s history with these sorts of things we have got to be careful and we will be.”
Huddersfield scored first via a fine try from Will Pryce in the third minute but struggled thereafter and were 14-6 down at the break.
Sam Wood and Josh Jones scored second half tries but they never looked like regaining the lead.
Coach Ian Watson said: “I thought we put ourselves in a reasonable position at half-time and had done some really good things.
“But the sin binning after half-time killed us.
“We were our own worst enemies and that took all the energy out of us.
“We felt at half-time that we were in a good position having played up the hill and managed the conditions well.
“Coming down the hill we needed to control the ball and manage the game, but we’ve got a young spine that are still learning.
“It’s not a blame game, it’s about learning and getting better.”