Wakefield Trinity took on Catalans Dragons at Belle Vue this afternoon in a game that could have serious consequences at both ends of the Super League table.
Catalans ran into a 12-0 lead after just eight minutes with Fouad Yaha getting fed by Arthur Mourgue for both scores.
Credit to Wakefield, they hit back through Jamie Shaul when they looked like they were heading for a potential hiding.
Yaha completed his hat-trick in the 27th minute before a moment of controversy hit as Tiaki Chan was sent to the sinbin for a dangerous tackle on Lewis Murphy when it could have been red.
16-4 down at half-time and Trinity had to score first in the second-half and they did just that through Matty Ashurst after the second-rower was fed by a beautiful short Jacob Miller pass.
Two penalties from Mourgue, however, sent Catalans into a 20-10 lead before a late Lewis Murphy try almost put the cat amongst the pigeons before the final whistle went after one last ditch effort by Trinity.
Winning head coach Steve McNamara waxed lyrical about the win, calling it ‘one of the best’ ever for Catalans since their conception.
“I think that’s one of the best wins in the history of the Catalans Dragons,” McNamara said.
“We don’t shout too much about it but there were 13 starting players missing.
“We actually only finalised the 17 yesterday – Dean Whare was 50/50 and we decided not to play him, so the start of the game was important to us.
“Fouad’s (Yaha) grandma died during the week – who had raised him – and the same with Cesar Rouge whose grandad passed away during the week.
“For a team to come together like that and play like we did with the personnel missing was huge.”
McNamara revealed that 13 of those players sidelined would have all been in the 17-man squad if fit.
“You saw the players who didn’t play were in the group all day and have travelled with us to support the players when we had nobody else to pick this week.
“We’ve got 13 players who would be on the 17 team sheet and to play Wakefield who have been in good form was huge.”
The Catalans boss was also full of praise for Arthur Mourgue who stepped into Sam Tomkins’ shoes with aplomb.
“He (Mourgue) was everywhere, he was a threat all day. Defensively he was good for us and kicked his goals well.
“He’s played that position really well today in the absence of Sam. We had a winger and scrum-half on the bench.”