Wakefield prove too much for Catalans – talking points & ratings

Alex Yoxall

Wakefield put in a professional performance to earn a 22-12 win over the Dragons and put their first points on the board for 2019.

It was a steady start to the game from both sides – a couple of errors derailing the momentum a touch. It didn’t take long for Wakefield to begin to dominate possession – this due to great play by the likes of Fifita and England down the middle, but also because of a multitude of Catalans errors.

Gigot, who was playing in the halves to accommodate Tomkins at fullback,  seemed to struggle when linking up on the edges – whilst Wakefield seemed smooth and directed by Brough, seemed the slicker of the two sides.

This slight dominance was eventually transferred into points when some excellent Hampshire footwork saw Johnstone receive the ball and produce some spell-bounding acrobatics in the corner.

Wakefield continued to enjoy the better of the half, but an against the run of play try by Langi of Catalans kept them in it. This was short lived when a barnstorming run by Fifita put Wakefield back in the lead.

The half was well finished by Trinity when a deft Brough kick put Batchelor over for smart try. Catalans with a 60% completion rate had much to improve in the second.

The second half seemed to start the same as the first, until a poor tackle by Wakefield forward Hirst put them a man down, as he went to the sin bin. The Dragons failed to put points on the board during the man advantage but immediately after Hirst returned to the field, a Dragons attack ended with another try for Langi.

Wakefield however continued to be the better of the two and Brough added more points from the boot. The Dragons didn’t help themselves when Baitieri got himself time in the bin for a late shot.

This was soon becoming a game of yellow cards, when Arona dropped the ball for what was to be a clear try but refused to give the ball to the visitors, leading to an early finish to his night.

Shortly after and before the game concluded, an unfortunate collision lead to a serious looking injury to Dragons back David Mead – hopefully it isn’t as serious as it looks.

Three talking points

Brough integral part of Trinity side

Plenty had been said in the build up to the game on Brough and his discipline (or lack thereof), but one thing that was highlighted this evening is just how integral he will be to any success Wakefield will have this season. On the night of his 500th career game, he certainly stepped up to the mark – his kicking game a particular highlight. If he can cut out the silliness from his game, he will prove to be quite the asset in 2019.

Johnstone one of the best finishers in the league

It seems to be weekly now that we witness gravity defying finishes from Tom Johnstone – the trademark put down by Saints’ Tommy Makinson now certainly being shared! His reliability in such tight positions will prove to be a great asset for Wakefield. One thing is for sure, his trys will make a mouthwatering highlight reel and if his form continues, an England call up will be on the cards once more.

Catalans their own worst enemy

The unwanted tag of away chokers will never be shaken when you make as many simple errors as the Dragons did tonight. Any side will struggle when they are defending more than they are attacking and that seemed to be the case this evening. In small spells they looked sharp, Tomkins and Langi linking up well in the back line – but consistency is something that they need to work on in order to win the all important away fixtures.

Line-ups & ratings

Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire (8), Jones-Bishop (6), Lyne (7), Tupou (6), Johnstone (8), Miller (7), Brough (8), Fifita (8), Wood (6), England (6), Batchelor (7), Ashurst (7), Arona (6). Subs: Horo (6), Kopczak (6), Hirst (6), King (6).

Tries: Johnstone, Fifita, Batchelor  Goals: Brough 5/5 Sin Bin: Hirst – 46 min, Arona – 71 min

Catalan Dragons: Tomkins (7), Tierney (6), Langi (7), Wiliame (6), Mead (6), Gigot (5), Smith (6), Simon (6), McIlorum (6), Moa (6), Whitley (6), Edwards (5), Casty (6). Subs: Garcia (6), Goudemand (5), Maria (6), Baitieri (5).

Tries: Langi (2)   Goals: Tomkins 2/3 Sin Bin: Baitieri – 67 min

Attendance: 4,600

Alex’s analysis

Wakefield will be up towards the top of the table this year, that I am in little doubt of. Especially if their key personnel perform when they are called upon. Tonight, Danny Brough did exactly that and on his 500th career game, he stepped up to the mark and kicked his side around the park.

If he can keep himself on the field rather than the sheds, he will prove to be a smart signing for Chris Chester. Johnstone continued his fine form and dazzled the crowd with a spectacular try in the corner – something that we are well accustomed to in Super League these days.

Catalans need to improve their away from in order to stand a chance at Super League glory – it really is as simple as that. Everyone loses games, it’s part of sport – but it’s the manner of the defeats that frustrate me. In many occasions they prove to be their own worst enemy, with mistakes and penalties only hindering any potential progress. If they improve this, they have the team on paper to challenge any team on their day.