Willie Poching sees positives in Wakefield Trinity display despite Challenge Cup loss to Wigan Warriors

Wakefield Trinity head coach coach Willie Poching took heart from aspects of Wakefield Trinity’s display despite the eventual 36-6 defeat by Wigan Warriors in the quarter-finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup.

By Tony Harber
Monday, 11th April 2022, 1:23 pm
Updated Monday, 11th April 2022, 1:26 pm
Young winger Lewis Murphy squeezes over in the corner for a well taken try as Wakefield Trinity challenged Wigan Warriors in the first half of their Betfred Challenge Cup tie. Picture: Tony Johnson
Young winger Lewis Murphy squeezes over in the corner for a well taken try as Wakefield Trinity challenged Wigan Warriors in the first half of their Betfred Challenge Cup tie. Picture: Tony Johnson

The final score did not reflect how close the match was in the first half when Trinity appeared to have their big name opponents rattled at one stage.

However, although Wakefield dominated much of the first half they somehow found themselves trailing 12-6 at the break and a try in the first minute of the second half then left them with a big task to come back, which they could not achieve.

Poching insisted there were “plenty of positives” from the performance, particularly in the opening 40 minutes.

Wakefield's Reece Lyne gets an offload away despite a tackle from Wigan Warriors' Jake Bibby. Picture Tony Johnson

Trinity were without winger Tom Johnstone and stand-off Jacob Miller because of injury, but players coming in stood up well against one of the top sides in the competition.

Poching said: “The spirit’s still there, the fight was still there.

“We had some really good performers, I thought James Batchelor took his opportunity and Tinirau Arona stood up as a senior figure.

“Corey Hall keeps growing and I thought the young fella on the wing, Lewis Murphy, has gone up another level. That’s what we asked of him.

Wakefield's James Batchelor runs at Wigan's Morgan Smithies. He was picked out as a stand-out by Trinity coach Willie Poching. Picture Tony Johnson

“There’s a couple of things to look at, but he is on the right trajectory in terms of growing and improving every time he plays.”

Yesterday’s defeat ended a four-game winning run and Trinity now have to back up against Castleford Tigers in a Super League game on Thursday.

Poching admitted: “It is disappointing to be knocked out at this stage and disappointing we couldn’t quite carry on what we did in the first half.

“We didn’t quite get out for the second half in the way we wanted and some of their quality came through, but I thought the first half was fantastic for us.”

Poching handed full credit to Wigan for keeping his men out under huge pressure in the opening 40.

“They defended well,” he added.

“We had quite a few raids on their goalline and we got over a couple of times, that were denied.

“It’s disappointing they got out quite easily and scored an opportunistic try, but that’s what good teams do.

“In the end, looking at the scoreline, I don’t think we deserved some of that, but we’ve got to roll our sleeves up and get ourselves ready to go, because we’ve got games coming thick and fast now and we can’t dwell on this too long.”