IT is a perennial debate as old as the game itself; when or when not to attempt a penalty goal.
Rueful Wakefield Trinity may well wish they had opted to take one during Saturday’s absorbing Magic Weekend contest against Catalans Dragons.
Certainly, if half-back Ryan Hampshire had got his way, they would and the outcome could have been so different. Blissful hindsight, of course.
Wakefield had fought back for the second time to level at 18-18 with Ben Jones-Bishop’s 68th-minute try. Hampshire could not convert from wide out but Tony Gigot, Catalans’ influential full-back, sailed the restart dead.
It gifted Wakefield a penalty on halfway but Jacob Miller opted to push for a try only to see his grubber for Mason Caton-Brown excruciatingly bounce into touch just before the winger’s grasp.
Instead, Gigot stepped up to strike a 77th-minute drop-goal to win it, rather satisfyingly for his side given they lost out to Miller’s famous 50m one-pointer at Magic in Newcastle just three years ago.
Discussing the penalty option, Hampshire revealed: “I wanted that. I think it’s something we’ll talk about in the week.
“I am confident anywhere around the 50 – maybe past the 50 – that I’ll get it. I think if we get those chances in the future we need to take them.
“I missed the one at 18-all, but we got another chance and it’s not a big pitch, probably 45 metres (to halfway) if that.”
Yet, in all honesty, Wakefield – who lost prop David Fifita to a leg injury that is likely to keep him out of Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final at St Helens – had already wasted their best chance.
They had been 12-0 down at half-time but surged into an 14-12 lead by the 48th minute.
Kyle Wood and, in in his 200th Super League game, Danny Kirmond crossed for tries but there should have been an immediate third. Back-row James Batchelor broke clear down the middle and cheekily dummied past Gigot but ignored an unmarked Wood and was hauled in by Lewis Tierney.
Granted, Hampshire added a penalty moments later but they should have been six points clear, not just two. Instead, Ben Garcia got over from Gigot’s pass and added another in the final seconds to make it 25-18.
Fouad Yaha and Gigot scored first-half tries although there was a clear forward pass during Gigot’s effort who added a conversion and penalty.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Sa’u, Caton-Brown; Miller, Hampshire; Fifita, Wood, Kopzkak, Ashurst, Kirmond, King. Substitutes: Batchelor, England, Randell, Tanginoa.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Tierney; Mead, Wiliame, Yaha,; Langi, Smith, Bousquet, Da Costa, Moa, Whitley, Garcia, Casty. Substitutes: Edwards, Simon, Baitieri, Kasiano.
Referee: S Mikalauskas (Leigh).