Wakefield Trinity 12 Huddersfield Giants 14: Lewis Murphy shines but Trinity fall short

Rookie winger Lewis Murphy’s dazzling try illuminated a drab clash with Huddersfield Giants, but wasn’t enough to prevent Wakefield Trinity’s fifth successive defeat.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 29th April 2022, 10:54 am

Trinity looked on course for a seventh successive home win over Giants when Murphy sent them in at the break with a 12-4 lead, but they fell short in the second period of a scrappy encounter watched by a crowd of just 3,166.

Murphy has been given a chance because of Tom Lineham’s long-term injury and coach Willie Poching deserves credit for sticking with him after he had a tough night in the early-season loss to Leeds Rhinos.

He was lively throughout and his try, after the half-time hooter, should have given Wakefield the platform to build a convincing win.

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Lewis Murphy's try after the half-time hooter helped Trinity into a 12-4 lead. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Giants did most of the pressing in the opening period, but were shambolic with ball in hand. They improved significantly after the break, though and on balance deserved their 14-12 win, but neither side was particularly good.

Trinity - and referee Tom Grant - thought Tom Johnstone had given them an early lead, after a break by Murphy, when he dived over at the corner off Max Jowitt’s looping pass, but the score was ruled out by video official Jack Smith who ruled the winger had put a foot in touch in Leroy Cujoe’s last-ditch tackle.

The hosts could have taken an easy two points nine minutes later when Giants were caught offside in front of their posts following a 40-20 kick from Jacob Miller.

Instead, they came away with six after deciding to take the tap. Miller went close, then Mason Lino took a pass from dummy-half and dummied his way over for a try which he also converted.

Mason Lino celebrates his try. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

A terrific tackle by Corey Hall forced the ball out of Giants’ Chris McQueen’s grasp when he looked likely to score, but the second-rower got Huddersfield off the mark on 26 minutes.

Murphy was penalised for an alleged dangerous tackle on Ricky Leutele and in the resulting set McQueen went over for an unconverted try from a pass by Theo Fages, who also went on to create Huddersfield’s other two tries in a commanding display.

The game’s most exciting moment came after the half-tine hooter.

Lino ran the ball on the last before Reece Lyne kicked infield, the ball bounced wickedly away from McQueen and was picked up by Jai Whitbread.

Tinirau Arona runs at Luke Yates and Oliver Wilson. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

He shipped it wide to Murphy, who still had a lot to do, but stepped in field, cut past a couple of defenders and evaded Ashton Golding’s despairing effort to dive over and touch down one-handed.

Lino added the extras to send Trinity in at the interval eight, rather than two, points ahead, but that was the margin again six minutes afterwards.

A Wakefield error led to a huge spell of pressure - including two drop-outs and a penalty - during which Luke Yates, Danny Levi and Chris McQueen were all held up over the line before Yates crossed from Fages’ pass and Oliver Russell converted.

Jowitt, in his 100th career appearance, was denied by Ricky Leutele’s try-saving tackle and the centre then gave Giants the lead by touching down after Fages dinked the ball behind Trinity’s line.

Russell couldn’t land the kick, with 13 minutes left, but the visitors held on with no major alarms to send them into next weekend’s Betfred Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull KR on the back of a first win in four games.

Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Murphy, Lyne, Hall, Johnstone, Miller, Lino, Arona, Bowes, Tanginoa, Pitts, Ashurst, Batchelor. Subs Whitbread, Kaye, Fifita, Crowther.

Huddersfield Giants: Golding, Wardle, Cudjoe, Leutele, Senior, Russell, Fages, Wilson, Levi, English, Ashworth. McQueen, Yates. Subs Lawrence, Trout, Jones, Greenwood.

Referee: Tom Grant (Leeds).

Attendance: 3,166.