Wakefield Trinity 38 Huddersfield Giants 12 - Mason Lino stars as hosts run riot
Playing with determination, confidence and flair, Wakefield Trinity produced a remarkable performance to tear apart previously in-form visitors Huddersfield Giants 38-12 and record their second successive win.
The previous week’s defeat of Hull KR ended a nine-game losing run - stretching back to last October and, against an out-of-sorts Giants side, Trinity looked a different team to the one which had struggled earlier in the campaign.
The return of key players from injury, particularly captain Jacob Miller and former Dream Team centre Bill Tupou, has made a massive difference but, suddenly, Wakefield are playing with tremendous belief.
They made the perfect start with an early try, then withstood ferocious pressure before doubling their advantage when they were a man down.
That was remarkable enough, given all the defending they’d had to do, but Trinity managed to find another gear and added three more tries in the final nine minutes of the half to go in with an uncatchable 30-0 lead.
The second period went a little flat, which wasn’t surprising given the scoreline, but Trinity did add two more long-range tries before Giants scored two tries in the final 120 seconds.
The final scoreline flattered Huddersfield, who had trailed from the fifth minute.
An enthusiastic chase forced Leroy Cudjoe to concede a drop out and, in that set, Wakefield moved the ball from one side of the field to the other as Joe Westerman’s long pass found Miller and he looped the ball over the defence to Liam Kay, who dived in for a spectacular finish at the corner.
Mason Lino’s conversion was just as good and Trinity then proved their defence was in fine shape by surviving six sets near their own line, from a penalty, two six-agains, another penalty, a Wakefield knock-on and then a drop out.
Directly from that, James Gavet drove the ball in and then dropped it, but Trinity were back on their line almost immediately as Aidan Sezer sliced through the middle, but was halted, illegally, by Miller just short. The Wakefield captain was sin-binned for the professional foul, but Giants - despite yet another penalty - lacked any sort of creativity, even against 12 men and, when Kenny Edwards, did get over the line, Darnell McIntosh’s pass was forward.
Having survived all that pressure, Wakefield doubled their lead while Miller was on the naughty step.
A penalty carried them up field and they showed Giants how it should be done when Kelepi Tanginoa crashed over from close range.
That seemed to knock some of the spirit out of Giants and they collapsed in the final stages of the half.
Soon after returning from the sin-bin, Miller hoisted a towering kick which Giants full-back McIntosh dropped and Trinity added their third try in the subsequent set, which was prolonged by a six-again.
Jay Pitts scored it, moments after he had been held up over the line, by stretching over powerfully from Westerman’s smart pass on 31 minutes.
Three later, in a penalty set, Westerman capped a fine opening spell by going over from close range and then, in the final minute, Wakefield kept the ball alive from deep in their own territory, Max Jowitt kicked towards the line and Tupou ran through to touch down.
Lino maintained his 100 per cent conversion rate and the only question in the second half was whether Giants could make the scoreline respectable.
Trinity twice held up Giants attackers over their line in the first 15 minutes after the interval and they wasted a series of opportunities on attack; when Kay couldn’t take Jowitt’s pass a few metres out; Kay sent Tupou over, but the winger had knocked-on first; Lee Kershaw was tackled into touch and Kay was dragged over the whitewash when he had support inside.
But the next try, when it came early in the final quarter, was a stunner. Kershaw began it by intercepting McIntosh’s pass near Trinity’s line, Reece Lyne was in support and he found Jowitt who sent Kay over on the opposite side and at the other end of the field from where the move began.
Lino’s kick bounced away off the cross bar but, with six minutes left, Joe Greenwood hurled a pass straight at him near Wakefield’s line and the Samoan raced the full length of the field to score. He handed over kicking duties to Jowitt, who missed the simple conversion.
Trinity’s hopes of keeping a clean sheet were dashed when Sezer sent Gavet over in the 78th minute and, on the last play, Jake Wardle touched down, Sezer converting both.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Kershaw, Lyne, Tupou, Kay, Miller, Lino, Arona, B Walker, Tanginoa, Ashurst, Pitts, Westerman. Subs Fifita, K Wood, Battye, Batchelor.
Huddersfield Giants: McIntosh, McGillvary, Jake Wardle, Leutele, Cudjoe, Cogger, Sezer, Gavet, Cunningham, Greenwood, Edwards, Jones, Lawrence. Subs O’Brien, Trout, English, McQueen.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).