Delighted boss Christ Chester has described Wakefield Trinity’s 42-16 success at Huddersfield Giants as a “special” win.
Trinity trailed 12-0 after 17 minutes against a team who were on a six-game winning streak, but halved the deficit before the break and dominated the second period.
Wakefield were without injured forwards David Fifita and Anthony England and Justin Horo pulled out after the warm-up leading to a late call for Chris Annakin.
Chester said: “We had bug go through the camp all week.
“Matty Ashurst struggled and only did the team run on Thursday.
“Chris Annakin was the same and a couple of others.
“When you put things into perspective it is a pretty special win.
“I couldn’t be more pleased.
Reflecting on the game, the coach added: “We had a tough spell from minute 10 to about minute 23 when they just seemed to roll us down the field.
“We were expecting that because we only had a small side out.
“What we did with the ball was really important and we got our rewards in second half.
“We knew we couldn’t take on Huddersfield down the middle: we have lost Fifita and Anthony England so we had to change the way we played.
“By shifting the ball it meant those big blokes had to make some big movements and that worked to our advantage in the last 20 minutes.
“We conceded a try just after half-time but it shows how much character there is in the team.”
Trailing 12-6 at half-time, Trinity conceded a try at the start of the second half, but responded immediately through Tom Johnstone when he snapped up a pass from opponent Kruise Leeming.
That was the first of six unanswered tries for Wakefield and Chester said: “The big turning point was the Tom Johnstone interception but what we did after that was very good. We completed very high and kicked the ball a lot better than we did in the first half.
“I couldn’t be more pleased.
“It’s a tough place to come and everyone have been talking how good Huddersfield have been going and about their top four
“We knew if we got the win that would put their top four chance to bed and it is a competition between us and Huddersfield for that fifth spot.”
Jordan Crowther, who has been playing on loan at Dewsbury Rams, came into the side and Chester enthused: “I thought there were some good individual performances.
“It was Jordy’s first game for us and defensively he was excellent. The second spell what he did with the ball was very good. He has had to wait for his chance and been frustrated, but he took his chance with both hands. He is a good young kid, he is still only young.
“We told Jordie he has got these next three or four weeks. He knows which parts of his game needs to improve on and we saw a lot of good signs.
“We will keep talking to him. We want to keep hold of all our young kids and he is still young and he is a good talent.
“Looking at the side we are a young side, but it was very spirited.”
Of Johnstone, who scored two tries opposite England winger Jermaine McGillvary, Chester said: ”He has been good all season and is knocking on the door of the England set-up.
“He just shaded the battle on that left wing. Collectively, we were very good and this was probably the best win for me since I have been involved here.”
Scott Grix was another two-try scorer on his return from shoulder surgery.
“I was very pleased for him,” Chester said. “He could have played against St Helens, but narrowly missed out to Max Jowitt.
“Max made a few mistakes and there is some competition there. I am pleased he got through the 80 minutes.
“He was saying his shoulder was a little bit sore from that first bomb that Broughy [Danny Brough] put up and then he whacked him straight on his shoulder.
“He does a lot of good things and says a lot of good things, but he backs it up with his actions as well.”
Explaining Horo’s withdrawal, Chester added: “He got a whack on his sternum in training. He did the warm up, but said he was struggling to grip. We gave him a jab but it wasn’t worth risking.”