WEARY WAKEFIELD Trinity emerged from Super League’s toughest Easter schedule with no points, but some credit.
Trinity were two minutes away from an outstanding victory at Warrington Wolves only to be denied by Tom Lineham’s last gasp try.
Coach Chris Chester admitted that was “tough to take”, but insisted Trinity’s disappointment was an indication of their recent progress.
In 2014 Wakefield were embarrassed 80-0 at Warrington in the game after Easter and last season, though they beat them at home, Wakefield suffered three hefty defeats to the league leaders and Challenge Cup and Grand Finalists.
A poor first half cost Wakefield any chance of victory at table-topping Castleford Tigers on Good Friday and they were unfortunate not to get at least a point against champions Wigan Warriors three days later.
Chester felt his team let themselves down in the second half at Warrington, after leading 20-6, but stressed: “I am not going to have a go at the guys, I thought their effort was fantastic and again – two weeks on the bounce – I thought we should have got something from the game.”
Trinity dashed into an early 12-0 lead through tries by Ashley Gibson and Mason Caton-Brown, both converted by Liam Finn.
Ryan Atkins raced 80 metres to pull a try back against his former club, Declan Patton adding the extras, but Finn booted a penalty goal just before the break and Tom Johnstone crossed for a third converted Wakefield touchdown soon after the interval.
Chris Hill and Kevin Brown replied with tries which Patton improved, but Trinity were leading 20-18 in the 77th minute and had possession deep in Warrington territory when David Fifita knocked-on at a play-the-ball.
There was almost an inevitability about what happened next as Warrington mounted one last attack and Lineham, their former Hull winger, went over at the corner from Stefan Ratchford’s long pass.
“I thought we were the best team for large parts of the game, but unfortunately we just came up short again,” Chester said.
“It was a poor error and a poor read on the edge, but I am proud of the boys’ efforts.
“We’ve come a long way in such a short space of time.
“To come here and be really disappointed with a loss just shows how far we’ve come.
“Dave is a bit gutted after the error towards the back end, but we just needed to be a bit smarter in the second half.
“We tried chasing the game and our game management needed to be a lot better – find touch, slow the game down a bit and play at our pace.”
Wakefield were not helped by the early loss of Danny Kirmond due to a back problem.
Chester revealed the captain had been struggling in the warm-up and conceded it had been a mistake to allow him to play.
Kirmond’s injury gave some extra game time to young forward James Batchelor and Chester was also pleased with Keegan Hirst’s impact off the bench.
“Batch is still only 18,” Chester pointed out. “He had to come on for Danny after 15 minutes and played very, very well. He carried the ball strongly and I thought Keegan looked pretty good. We got some impact there, but it was a tough one to take.”
Long-term casualty Reece Lyne could be available for Sunday’s visit of Catalans Dragons, along with Matty Ashurst.
Chester has now given his players some time off, saying: “I’ve told them I don’t want to see them now until Wednesday.
“They’ve got a few days off now to recover and they need to use that time wisely. It has been a tough period. We’ve played some really good sides over Easter and there’s a lot of bruised bodies.”
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Evans, Livett, Atkins, Lineham, Patton, Gidley, Hill, Dwyer, Sims, Jullien, Hughes, Westerman. Subs Philbin, Brown, G King, Savelio.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Gibson, Caton-Brown, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, England, Wood, Fifita, Hadley, Kirmond, Arona. Subs Williams, Batchelor, Hirst, Huby.
Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).