Wakefield Trinity’s ‘extra strength and power shone through’ after Batley Bulldogs’ fightback, says Mark Moxon

Batley Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Moxon believed his side had put themselves “into a winning position at half-time” after threatening to spoil Wakefield Trinity’s unblemished start to their Championship campaign.
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The Bulldogs fought back from a 12-0 deficit, as two Max Jowitt tries inside the opening eight minutes gave Wakefield a seemingly commanding lead.

However, Batley roared back into the contest through Dale Morton and Alistair Leak before an extraordinary comeback was completed just after half-time when Josh Woods knocked over his second penalty of the match, but Batley’s 14-12 lead did not last long.

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Three tries in the space of seven minutes from Caleb Uele, Matty Ashurst and Jack Croft turned the game back in Wakefield’s favour and Iain Thornley’s late effort cemented a fifth victory out of five to keep them on top of the Championship table.

Action from Batley Bulldogs' defeat at home to Wakefield Trinity. Photo by Paul Butterfield.Action from Batley Bulldogs' defeat at home to Wakefield Trinity. Photo by Paul Butterfield.
Action from Batley Bulldogs' defeat at home to Wakefield Trinity. Photo by Paul Butterfield.

Summing up the game, which Batley eventually lost 34-14, Moxon said:

“It was a great effort. They are a good team but I am proud of my lads’ efforts. I thought we had put ourselves into a winning position at half time. Going up the hill to be 12-12 apiece at half-time, I thought we were really in the contest and anything could have happened in the second half.

“I will reflect on my decision to take two in the second half which put us two points in front. Maybe we should have gone for the score. I guess the plan was to just tick the points over and complete and get them back down the bottom of the hill.

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“Ultimately a bit of extra strength and power shone through from them in the second half and they rolled us a little bit up the middle and they then took their chances in good ball as you would expect from a full-time team.”

Asked if he feared the worst after those two early tries from Jowitt, Moxon responded:

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“I certainly was. It was a shocking start. We prepped against the York and Doncaster games (against Wakefield) and they made their defences look poor and that’s exactly what they did to us in the first 12 minutes or so.

“Sometimes it looks poor but when you put it into perspective and the big blokes are coming at you, they take some stopping don’t they.

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“We were disappointed with the start but we got back into it. We got right back into it after that with a great effort.

“We said to go again in the second half but they managed to get their good ball and when they did they took their chances. It was two spells where they have scored a lot of their points and that spell in the second half killed the game for us really.”