A controversial decision in the 25-18 Magic Weekend defeat by Catalans Dragons left Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester bemused.
In the opening game at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium, Trinity trailed 12-0 at half-time, hit back to go two points in front seven minutes into the second period and levelled the scores with 11 minutes remaining.
They looked the likeliest winners until three minutes from the end when Tony Gigot dropped a goal to break the deadlock and Ben Garcia added his second touchdown on the final play.
Wakefield had few attacking chances in the opening 40, but Mason Caton-Brown would have scored had Max Jowitt’s pass not been ruled forward.
Moments later Kenny Edwards floated a pass to Fouad Yaha that Chester said Tom Brady – the American football quarterback – “would have been proud of” and the winger sent Gigot over. “We have got history with that touchjudge,” Chester said afterwards. “I was really disappointed with that try, how the touch judge can’t pick that one up is beyond me.”
There were other turning points. After Wakefield had levelled the scores James Batchelor broke through with support, but took the tackle; then Mason Caton-Brown lost possession as he tried to touch down moments later when Trinity led 14-12.
I was really disappointed with that try, how the touch judge can’t pick that one up is beyond me.Chris Chester
Also, they opted not to kick for goal from half-way when Catalans’ restart following the try which made it 18-18 with 11 left went out on the full.
Of the Batchelor chance, Chester said: “We’ve got to score, that should’ve been a six-pointer instead of two points [for a penalty on the next play].
“That hurt us and the Mason one as well, not finishing that off. If we convert one of those we probably go on and win the game.”
Ryan Hampshire confirmed he had been keen to take the two from the penalty on half-way, but Chester insisted: “It’s a tough one, it’s 50 metres out. It’s probably just in range, but the guys out there thought they had the momentum and wanted to kick into touch and try and get a try.
“We knew a try and goal would seal it, but we learn from those decisions.”
It was Wakefield’s second successive loss, but Chester felt they improved on their performance the previous week at London Broncos.
He was impressed by debutant Kelepi Tanginoa and said: “I thought we were good in lots of areas.
“We were physical, which we needed to be, but I thought game management-wise we just lacked a bit of smarts.
“We came up with three really poor errors with six minutes to go, but we gave ourselves a chance.
“We put ourselves in a really good position, we just couldn’t quite put the game away.”
Trinity lost in-form forward David Fifita to an injury late on and he seems certain to miss Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup quarter-final at St Helens.
“It doesn’t look great and the tackle doesn’t look great either,” Chester said. “We potentially could have lost him long-term.” Yaha was Catalans’ other first half try scorer. Wakefield began the second period with tries by Kyle Wood – off good work from Caton-Brown and Jacob Miller – and Danny Kirmond, Hampshire improving both and booting a penalty.
A Garcia touchdown and the third of Gigot’s four conversions – edged Catalans back in front before Craig Kopczak, Hampshire and Jowitt created an opportunity for Ben Jones-Bishop and his fine finish squared the scores.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Sa’u, Caton-Brown, Miller, Hampshire, Fifita, Wood, Kopzkak, Ashurst, Kirmond, King. Subs Batchelor, England, Randell, Tanginoa.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot, Yaha, Mead, Wiliame, Tierney, Langi, Smith, Bousquet, Da Costa, Moa, Whitley, Garcia, Casty. Subs Edwards, Simon, Baitieri, Kasiano.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh).