COACH CHRIS Chester saluted a ”really gritty” performance after a 33-22 home win over Salford Red Devils lifted Wakefield Trinity to fourth in Betfred Super League.
Four first-half tries laid the platform for Trinity’s victory and they withstood some heavy pressure after the break.
“I am really pleased,” Chester said. “Salford are a similar side to us, they never go away.
“It was a really gritty performance from us, they caused us a lot of problems in the second half, but I thought we did a lot of good work in the first.
“We completed really high, about 90 per cent and scored some good tries.
“Ill-discipline in the second half let them back into the game and the one criticism I’ve got is we go into our shells when we’re in front.
“That’s something we need to be better at, but it was a pleasing result.”
Wakefield’s first try was a freak. Pauli Pauli gave the ball away near Salford’s line, but some wild and unnecessary off-loading by the visitors handed it straight back and David Fifita pounced on Adam Lawton’s error to score.
Pauli played the full 80 and was the driving force behind Trinity’s win, alongside fellow big man Fifita, and Chester reflected: “We are a really good team when we play direct.
“Our pack was pretty dominant in the first half with some individuals playing big minutes. From one to 17 it was a good collective performance.”
Danny Brough booted the first of his five conversions before Niall Evalds replied with a lovely try off a kick by Darrell Olpherts and Ed Chamberlain landed the goal to level the scores.
Salford then began conceding penalties and Trinity took advantage to build a convincing 24-10 half-time lead.
Ryan Hampshire stepped through the defence for a well-taken score, Reece Lyne touched down from Jacob Miller’s smart kick and – after Kris Welham had replied with an unconverted touchdown created by Chamberlain – Pauli powered over off Brough’s pass.
Though Salford had some opportunities at the start of the second half, their decision-making and finishing was poor and then ill-discipline put them back under pressure.
Trinity twice opted to tap kickable penalties and the second of those led to a well-worked try for Miller who ran on to Brough’s last-tackle kick.
That made it 30-10 and seemed to have settled the game, but Salford replied with two tries in three minutes – Olpherts crossing from Jake Bibby’s pass and then Jackson Hastings nipping over for a solo score, Chamberlain converting both – to cut the gap to eight points with 19 minutes left.
The visitors pressed strongly after that, but Brough steadied the ship with a penalty goal and then added a one-pointer to complete the scoring 12 minutes from time.
“I thought our game-management towards the back end was pretty good,” Chester added. “Milky [Miller] was good and Broughy’s game-management and defence was really good.
“On the whole, we deserved the two points.”
Matty Ashurst’s return in the second-row lifted Trinity.
They also welcomed back Bill Tupou, playing on the left-wing, after a knee injury, but he hobbled off with a groin problem early in the second half.
“It doesn’t look great for next week, which is one negative to come out of the game,” Chester said.
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Tupou, Miller, Brough, Fifita, Wood, England, Pauli, Ashurst, Arona. Subs Crowther, King, Kopczak, Horo.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Olpherts, Bibby, Welham, Chamberlain, Lui, Hastings, Lawton, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Flanagan. Subs Burke, Walker, Turgut, Inu.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh).