Willie Poching praises his players' spirit after Wakefield Trinity knock Warrngton Wolves out of Betfred Challenge Cup

After beating Warrington Wolves last week Wakefield Trinity went and did it again to advance to the quarter-finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup where they will now host Wigan Warriors.

By Tony Harber
Sunday, 27th March 2022, 9:53 pm
Corey Hall scored the match winning try for Wakefield Trinity at Warrington Wolves in their Betfred Challenge Cup tie. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Corey Hall scored the match winning try for Wakefield Trinity at Warrington Wolves in their Betfred Challenge Cup tie. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Daryl Powell's Wolves looked on course to exact revenge for their Super League defeat to Trinity when opening up a 12-0 first half lead, but Poching's men hung on in and came back to run out 16-12 winners.

After Connor Wrench and Josh Thewlis crossed for the Warrington tries Max Jowitt and Corey Hall combined to send Lewis Murphy over to give Trinity a lifeline as they were only six points behind at the break.

Wakefield went on to score the only points in the second half as Liam Kay sent Reece Lyne free to race over from 25 yards out and Mason Lino kicked his second goal then two minutes later Hall took Jowitt's pass for the winning try.

It was Trinity's first Challenge Cup win at Warrington since 1963 and proud head coach Willie Poching praised the fighting spirit shown by his side to come back from that 12-point deficit.

He said: “The heart and character the guys showed got us home in the end.

“They showed some spirit to stick in the game and I felt we were a fair way off the pace at half-time as, while we had a fair bit of ball, we weren’t defending good enough.

“We took some confidence from being only 12-6 down on the scoreboard and we needed to adjust our attitude and efforts and, thankfully, we did that.

“With the scoreboard being tight right until the end, we had to fight and claw back the lead and hold on to it and I’m really proud of them for doing that.

“We came up with some smart football to close the game out as well.

“It has not been the case all year, where we have not got the rewards for our efforts, but, if you stick in the fight long enough and keep going and trust the processes and believe in each other, you get the rewards.

“We had a similar start to last weekend and any team with pace like Warrington can hurt you.

“We will have a good look at it and see what we are doing wrong, because it’s tough enough when it happens once, but two weeks in a row is, not quite alarm bells, but it’s an area we need to fix up.”

Warrington's former Castleford Tigers head coach Powell held a long inquest with his players after the game before speaking to the media to try to explain the Wolves' sudden downturn in results.

He said: “We were okay for 20 minutes, which is a common theme, and then we get put under pressure and we can’t handle it.

“We’ve had a good chat after the game about player accountability and about what we are delivering and the players have to sort their heads out.

“Our defence is incredibly soft and we get rattled so easily. I don’t think at any point this season we have handled being put under pressure. We had a great start again and the players have got to get a grip of their heads. I feel like I am butting heads with some of them about the way we want to play. We are not delivering on both sides of the ball and we have to get a grip of it.

“It’s still early enough in the season to fix it up, so we have had an honest chat that what we are serving up is not good enough and we have to do something about it.

"We have to become a team which we are not at the moment, because a team becomes strong when under pressure and we don’t.

“We’ve lost four games straight and we have to become stronger because of the adversity we are facing.

“We have no players playing consistently well and the players know that and we have to turn it round quickly.

“We are all accountable for the performances, which aren’t good enough, and we have to sort it out as a group. There’s no excuses for not performing well; it’s what we get paid for.”

Warrington: Thewlis; Charnley, Mata’utia, King, Wrench; Widdop, Williams; Mulhern, Walker, Cooper, Currie, Robson, Holmes. Subs: Philbin, Clark, Magoulias, Davis.

Wakefield: Jowitt; Kay, Lyne, Hall, Murphy; Miller, Lino; Arona, Hood, Tanginoa, Ashurst, Pitts, Crowther. Subs: Battye, Batchelor, Whitbread, Aydin.