Wakefield Trinity Ladies showed fight and desire as they fell to a 26-0 defeat against Bradford Bulls at Odsal in the Betfred Women’s Super League.
Following last weekend’s defeat against Warrington, changes in personnel in midweek saw Trinity head to Bradford looking to show the Bulls a hard time.
Megan Preston, Leonie Lawson and Brooke Price all started, with academy graduates Beth Cain, Ebony Hardcastle and Olivia Lancaster all retaining their places.
“The girls were outstanding yesterday,” said Trinity Ladies’ head coach, Jason Talbot.
“The effort and commitment to each other was pleasing to see. Losing two players to injury on the morning of the game and three more leaving this week meant we only had 15, but the girls took it in their stride.
“I reminded them of why we play rugby. It’s supposed to be a game we play for fun with our mates. Sometimes, we lose sight of that and place too much pressure on our players.”
Booked as a showpiece event following the Bulls’ first team victory over Workington, Trinity headed onto the field at the later time of 5:15pm, with much of the crowd staying to support the ladies’ game.
Looking to bounce back and show the Odsal following what they were made of, Trinity started well in the opening 20. Amy Bennett supported play nicely at fullback, with her quick hands finding winger, Alisha Nix, but Bradford defended well on their own line.
After a scoreless opening 26 minutes, the home side registered the first points of the afternoon. The ball being shifted to the right-hand side, where Katie Whelan was waiting to find a gap and touch down.
Despite Wakefield showing enormous resilience in defence, Bradford used their momentum well as the first half came to a close, registering back-to-back tries in the final 10 minutes of the opening 40.
Bailey Alexander went against the flow of play to wrong-foot the Trinity defence as she crashed over before Alice Fisher added to the Bulls’ advantage.
“Despite what the results say, our defence isn’t that bad,” Talbot followed
“You can only defend for so long before something gives. Too often, we have conceded tries in quick succession without posting a reply. This quickly gets you into a spiral you can’t get out of.
“We’ve worked a little bit on the technical aspect of defence spoke about attitude and how defence can be fun, but, mainly, we’ve worked on our attack to try and stay in the arm wrestle as long as possible and finish our sets in good positions.”
Down, but by no means out, Trinity turned up their pursuit for a route back into the contest following the break, turning solid defence into attack as we searched for a try.
Following more possession on the Bulls’ try line, Abbie Millward was playing an instrumental role in dictating play, using the side’s shape to find gaps in the Bradford defensive line.
It took the home side 14 minutes into the second half to find their next try, however, Abigail Pinder broke through Wakefield’s last line of defence to power over in the 54th minute.
Wakefield still believed, though, with some of the skill on show causing problems for the Bulls. Millward, whose kicking game all day was hard to deal with, showed her maturity with a 40/20 to get Trinity closer to the Bradford line.
Showing everything they needed to as they looked to grab a much-deserved try, that moment almost came through Bennett. The fullback picked her spot and pounced, breaking through the Bradford defence in her own half, with just grass in front of her, only to be stopped through a great defensive effort just short of the 20-metre line.
“We have tried to put some attacking structure in place, but with only two sessions it’s been hard.
“It will come, though, and we showed glimpses of what we are capable of, we just need a bit more time. We ended our sets in good positions at times but just couldn’t convert. Some old habits crept back in, but we will get there.”
Pouring bodies forward looking to get a foothold back into the contest, Trinity found themselves outnumbered in the dying embers as Bradford increased their lead on the hooter. A break down the middle cemented the win for the home side, however, Trinity won’t be too dishearted, putting in a much-improved display as we enter the final three games of the season.
Wakefield Trinity Ladies’ next game will be a home clash with Leigh Miners on Sunday, 21st August 2022 at the Be Well Support Stadium.