WAKEFIELD TRINITY have enjoyed the highs of winning at Magic Weekend with a late, long-range drop goal but they were on the painful receiving end of such a finish today.
Jacob Miller struck with a spectacular 50m effort to defeat Catalans Dragons in Newcastle three years ago.
As the French club exacted their revenge, Tony Gigot’s 77th minute effort on Magic’s first trip to Liverpool this afternoon was not as far out but just as priceless for his team.
Ben Garcia's second try rounded things off for Steve McNamara’s side in the final seconds but defeat was hard to take for Wakefield who had seen two quality chances to take control disappear.
The West Yorkshire club had been 12-0 down at the break, roared back to lead 14-12 by the 48th minute only to then see Garcia rumble over for his first and see Catalans regain the advantage seven minutes later.
However, Chris Chester’s side - vastly improved after last week’s shock loss at bottom-placed London Broncos - refused to let their heads drop.
Led well by the likes of David Fifita (before he limped off on crutches late on) and Craig Kopczak, and with Ryan Hampshire and Jacob Miller probing away, they patiently worked their way back for a second time.
They forced another drop-out and some slick handling, especially from recalled full-back Max Jowitt at the last, saw Ben Jones-Bishop smuggle over in the right corner in the 68th minute.
Hampshire could not improve from wide out so the scores were left locked at 18-18
However, Gigot, the France full-back who had been so central to Catalans’ best moments, inexpicably sailed the restart out dead, gifting Wakefield an immediate chance to regain the lead.
Hampshire could have had a shot at goal from halfway but the side opted to kick for touch.
The tactic almost paid off as they pressed hard and Miller’s latest grubber bounced invitingly for Caton-Brown only to elude him at the last moment.
Instead, their French opponents - who beat Wigan Warriors in Barcelona last week and strengthened their hold on third - responded to clinch it.
Wakefield were 12-0 down at the interval but had taken the lead within just eight minutes of the second half resuming.
Kyle Wood scored within only 51 seconds after Caton-Brown’s fine break down the left flank saw Miller provide the link for the hooker.
Ryan Hampshire added the first of his three goals and, after forcing a drop-out in the next set, Chester’s side were in again.
Kenny Edwards rushed up off the Catalans goalline to try and pressurise Hampshire but slipped, allowing the stand-off just enough space to supply DannyKirmond with a pass.
The veteran back-row stepped over, just doing enough to shrug off Gigot.
Trinity should have scored a third try in the following set when James Batchelor this time surged clear from near halfway as the Dragons’ defence fell apart once more.
The England Knights back-row confidently dummied past full-back Gigot but then ignored Wood’s support with the line begging and was tackled by Lewis Tierney.
Granted, Catalans were penalised for offside moments later, Hampshire securing two points, but it should have been six.
It was a pivotal moment. Still, having clearly found their rhythm after a frustrating first period, Caton-Brown dived in at the corner at the next set, too, following a wonderful pass from Miller.
However, video referee Robert Hicks rightly ruled the winger had grazed the touchline.
Gigot’s lovely disguised pass from a scrum 20m out saw Garcia in for his first try before that dramatic finish.
For Wakefield, there was certainly an improved attitude compared to the previous week when Chester had questioned his side’s desire as they shipped 42 points in Ealing.
Here, they defended their line with plenty of grit and effort, not least Jowitt, the recalled full-back who held up both Fouad Yaha - not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination - and David Mead in the first half.
Caton-Brown also managed to bundle Francis Tierney into touch when the Catalans winger threatened to squeeze over but, for all of that good work, Chester’s side gave away too many cheap penalties to invite pressure.
Worst of all was from Anthony English, the prop making his comeback after two months out injured, who was penalised when in possession following a flare-up with fellow heavyweight Sam Kasiano.
In the next set, Kyle Wood also infringed, allowing Tony Gigot to kick another two points just before the break.
Gigot dabbed a grubber in for Yaha to score in the 15th minute, their second try coming from Gigot himself in the 32nd minute.
However, the latter was a controversial effort given Edwards' forward pass in the build-up was missed by the officials.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Sa’u, Caton-Brown; Miller, Hampshire; Fifita, Wood, Kopzkak, Ashurst, Kirmond, King. Substitutes: Batchelor, England, Randell, Tanginoa.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Tierney; Mead, Wiliame, Yaha,; Langi, Smith, Bousquet, Da Costa, Moa, Whitley, Garcia, Casty. Substitutes: Edwards, Simon, Baitieri, Kasiano.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh)