Wakefield Trinity Wildcats boss Brian Smith admitted that he was a relieved man following Saturday’s 30-12 home win over Halifax - a result that books Trinity’s place in the Super 8s Qualifiers Million Pound Game.
Smith said: “We had to win today to make sure that next week [at Sheffield Eagles] was important for us. We did that.
“It took a long time to get dominance over Halifax. They were very well organised. They’ve got a plan and they know how to play towards that plan.
“I reckon they did that pretty well today too. But they brought some pretty strong tackling at some stages too and made out guys really earn it.”
Smith added: “I would certainly like to praise the 17 guys who did such a great job for us too. They had a lot of disruption [in the build-up to the game] and we asked a lot, particularly from the three young guys.
“Jordan Crowther didn’t know he was playing until a few minutes before the game when we decided that Ali [Lauitiiti] wasn’t quite where he needed him to be.
“Max found out he was playing [on Friday night] and Tom [Johnstone] knew all week he was playing but all three of them have been training for weeks and weeks without playing.
“To come in and play when very match unfit and being so young, credit to them. Credit to the guys in our team who helped them to get there and to get enough done to get us another game next week [at Sheffield] that means something for us.”
Looking ahead to the squad selection for the Eagles game, Smith said: “There are a couple who will still be unavailable next week. Some players will be returning from injury and we will probably have maybe three or four different guys to add to that squad.”
Following a turbulent week leading up to the Halifax game, Tim Smith, Reece Lyne, Kevin Locke and Scott Anderson were all dropped from the squad for last Saturday’s clash but Trinity’s head coach was pleased with how his team reacted. He said: “I am 61 so therefore I have experienced a whole load of stuff.
“People make up stories to go around the stuff. It is entertaining for some people who wallow in that sort of rumour-mongering but I choose to ignore that.
“The guys showed today that they did a pretty good job of finding their own way to prepare well for a tough game and do a good job. That is why we are all very proud: A hard fought win in difficult circumstances.”
Ali Lauitiiti was left out of the Halifax line-up with a hamstring strain but the Wakefield boss hopes to have him back in the line-up for the trip to Sheffield Eagles on Sunday.