1895 Cup semi-final reaction: Daryl Powell praises ‘class’ second half performance as Wakefield Trinity seal Wembley date after beating Bradford Bulls

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Wakefield Trinity’s head coach Daryl Powell praised his side’s second half display which saw them convincingly overcome Bradford Bulls in the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup to earn a date at Wembley.

Trailing 8-6 at the interval, Wakefield stormed in front thanks to three tries inside the first 12 minutes of the second period from Matty Ashurst (2) and Liam Hood. The Bulls pulled one back through Kieran Gill but another flurry of tries Jermaine McGillvary, Renouf Atoni and Derrell Olpherts sealed an emphatic 40-14 victory.

On the second half performance which secured Trinity’s first Wembley final since 1979, Powell said:

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“Really pleased. We always knew it was going to be a tough game today and that we would have to play really well to come out of the other side and I thought we were class in the second half.

Wakefield Trinity’s head coach Daryl Powell praised his second half display which saw them convincingly overcome Bradford Bulls in the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup to earn a date at Wembley.Wakefield Trinity’s head coach Daryl Powell praised his second half display which saw them convincingly overcome Bradford Bulls in the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup to earn a date at Wembley.
Wakefield Trinity’s head coach Daryl Powell praised his second half display which saw them convincingly overcome Bradford Bulls in the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup to earn a date at Wembley.

“I felt like our dominance was coming. I thought Bradford had an outstanding first half, their pack played exceptionally well and we know they kick well. Lilley’s (Jordan) kicking game is outstanding. They put us under pressure and I told them at half time that they have got a target on their backs this year every single game. And it was a semi-final so it was always going to be a difficult game.

“It was more about stopping giving cheap things away in the second half. We conceded a real soft try from distance which hasn’t been us. We haven’t been conceding tries from line breaks at the moment so that first try was a real soft one. It was about tidying up and sticking to the plan a little bit more. I don’t think we really applied that too well in the first half.

“We were really smart in the second half.”

McGillvary came straight back into the starting 13 following his recovery from a torn tricep he sustained in the Challenge Cup win at Siddal in March with top try scorer Lachlan Walmsley dropping to the bench. Powell was also without Luke Gale who was missing with a groin strain, so Liam Kay partnered Mason Lino - who picked up an ankle injury during the game - in the halves.

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“I asked Mason to tough his way through it,” Powell admitted. “He played a really controlling halves game in the second half. There was a point where I was thinking about bringing him off but he managed to get him through it.”

On the pre-game tactics plan, Powell continued: “Part of our plan was to put Max (Jowitt) up to half and Lachlan to go to full-back. We lost Luke Gale so to lose Mason as well would have been pretty tough but it is what it is.

“I thought Liam Kay had a really good game in the second half and I thought Mason was really good controlling both sides of the field, some real smart plays.

“Our execution wasn’t great in the first half although some of Bradford’s last-ditch defence was outstanding.”

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On the prospect of being the first Wakefield head coach in 45 years to lead the side out at Wembley, where they will face Sheffield Eagles in the 1895 Cup final on Challenge Cup Final day on Saturday, June 8, Powell said:

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“It’s a new job for me coming to Wakefield and I’m really trying to enthuse and help other people enthuse the club and to go to Wembley rubber stamps our start to the season.

“We have had some tough challenges and we have shown that we have been pretty formidable, the team we have been able to put together at this level.

“We have got an opportunity to go and win something now. It will be difficult. We beat Sheffield comfortably the other week but I will be expecting a fair response from them.”

On the support his side received at Odsal, Powell added:

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“Our support, as it has been throughout the season, was outstanding. They made themselves heard and really got behind the boys and the second half performance justified them coming to watch today.I know the support will be outstanding (at Wembley).

“It’s also a great opportunity for quite a lot of our players who won’t have played there or been there. To get a chance to perform there is a special thing in your career.”

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