A tumultuous week in the long history of Wakefield Trinity and the much shorter history of Crusaders ended with the Wildcats looking the more demoralised club yesterday. The Welsh-based players, despite having uncertain career prospects in Super League, were far too good for this dismal outfit who escaped the axe last Tuesday.
Seven days ago, Wakefield were expecting a one-way ticket to the wilderness, with the shaky North Wales operation given the green light to continue its precarious existence. Instead, Crusaders were still absorbing the loss of their Super League place yesterday, and the Wildcats the equally unexpected departure of John Kear at the end of the season. It was the latter who failed to respond positively.
"The first half was acceptable because it was competitive, but the second was woeful," said Kear. "The team looked like they didn't care and weren't trying. It's been a surreal week and this was a surreal reaction to it."
The match was everything that might be expected from the two bottom sides in the division, with their first-half efforts only partly making up for their lack of refinement. It was that, as much as some good, honest defence, that kept the game scoreless for 32 minutes. That was until the lively Elliot Kear threw a speculative pass in-field, where Lincoln Withers picked it up on the half-volley to score under the sticks.
The second half was a different affair, from the moment that Lloyd White went over for his first try from Michael Witt's pass. Withers set him up for his second before Tony Martin's run through some joke tackling released Stuart Reardon.
Wakefield managed a solitary try from Josh Veivers, but late scores from Vince Mellars, Jordan James and Kear emphasised the difference in attitude between the two teams.
The Crusaders' players threw their shirts to the loyal knot of travelling fans and could be heard afterwards singing in the showers: "Super League – you're having a laugh."
Wakefield: Veivers; Griffin, Murphy, Dean, Tadulala; Smith, Lee; Higgins, Wildie, Amor, Mariano, Henderson. Substitutes used: Korkidas, Tony, Gledhill, Howarth.
Crusaders: Schifcofske; Reardon, Martin, Mellars, Kear; Witt, Lupton; O'Hara, Withers, James, Cahill, Chan, Williams. Substitutes used: Moore, Dudson, Winterstein, White.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).