Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ coach Brian Smith was proud of his side even though they suffered defeat to Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
It was a 16th straight defeat for Super League’s bottom side but Smith, in charge for a second match since taking over at Wakefield, saw the sort of positive signs he is looking for as he bids to turn around their fortunes.
“In the main, I’m proud of my players, they were extremely difficult circumstances,” he said. “The heat was significant, some of our boys were quite courageous. I’m pretty happy with the efforts that they put in to stay in the contest.
“I thought Tim Smith was quite outstanding again – he was probably our best player for us last week along with Mika Simon. (Saturday) I thought they also put in very good performances.
“I also liked Jon Molloy, who came off the bench and did a good job for us.”
Late tries from Eloi Pelissier, Morgan Escare and Louis Anderson gave the Dragons’ win a gloss it scarcely deserved as Wakefield battled hard, wiping out an early 12-0 lead to draw level and almost making Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous regret his decision to rest a number of players ahead of Thursday’s Challenge Cup tie against Hull KR.
However, while he was pleased with what he saw, Smith knows he cannot get ahead of himself given the scale of the task at Wakefield.
“We need to start converting some of the better play that we have in our game into 80 minutes or get it closer to the 80 minutes,” he said.
“We couldn’t quite finish the game off and we had some horrible lapses in the first half that created two tries for them.”
Frayssinous was pleased with the result but admitted his concern at the way Wakefield had been able to come back into the contest.
“We are definitely happy with the win, that was the first objective for us along with keeping up our improvements in our defence,” he said.
“I think we did that, conceding only two tries for the second time in two games.
“We lost control in the closing minutes of the first half and at the beginning of the second half but we managed to get back into the contest and the last seven minutes showed what we can do if we are patient.”
Frayssinous praised young French debutant Krisnan Inu, who scored a try, having only arrived at the club on Wednesday from rugby union club Stade Francais.
“I thought he had a good debut, he is a strong runner and is very good when the ball is in the air,” he continued.
“Considering he only had one training session with us, he played very well. He scored a good try and I look forward to him scoring more like that.”
Catalans Dragons: Escare, Inu, Gigot, Pomeroy, Yaha, Bosc, Dureau, Lima, Pelissier, Casty, Whitehead, Anderson, Baitieri. Substitutes: Elima, Mounis, Garcia, Guasch.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Miller, Johnstone, Arundel, Lyne, Riley, Godinet, T. Smith, Scruton, McShane, Simon, Ryan, Kirke, Washbrook. Substitutes: Owen, Molloy, Annakin, Kavanagh.
Referee: P Bentham (RFL).