Jeffries' late drop puts Wakefield in play-offs

Wakefield 21 Huddersfield 20
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Wakefield made mathematically certain of a place in the play-offs for the first time, but there was little in this patchy display to worry Super League's top five sides.

Wakefield made mathematically certain of a place in the play-offs for the first time, but there was little in this patchy display to worry Super League's top five sides.

The Wildcats trailed for most of the game and needed a Ben Jeffries drop goal six minutes from time to beat a Huddersfield side who would surely have stayed in the top six themselves if they had rediscovered the key to being as awkward to play against as this a little earlier.

"Huddersfield are the type of team who get up in your face and can unsettle anyone," said the Wakefield coach, Shane McNally. "I'm just delighted we got the points and we're not going into the play-offs just to make up the numbers."

It was a mixed start for the March brothers, with Wakefield's David kicking them ahead with two early penalties and Huddersfield's Paul going to the blood bin after a furious punch up with David Solomona.

Huddersfield, who ended a seven match losing streak by beating Hull last week, looked to be carrying that renewed confidence into this game when they took the lead through converted tries from Sean Penkywicz and Jim Gannon, the latter from a deft pass from their forward substitute, Jon Grayshon.

The game only began to move Trinity's way when the Giants had Julian Bailey sent to the sin bin. In his absence, Wakefield scored twice before half time. The first came from their most productive partnership this season, with Solomona getting the ball to Sid Domic for his 21st Super League try. A fumble from Marcus St Hilaire led to the second, with the ball moved swiftly to the right for Gareth Ellis to send Colum Halpenny in for the equalising try.

Wakefield ignored two chances to kick for goal at the start of the second half and paid the price when Huddersfield swept to the other end and Darren Fleary got a short ball away for Paul White to score, with Brandon Costin again converting. Paul Handforth and Costin exchanged penalties, Costin's after Wakefield's Steve Snitch had been sin binned for another of the game's many offences in the tackle.

The Giants' Paul Reilly joined him five minutes later. David March kicked the goal. Semi Tadulala then scored the try that brought Trinity level, finding the way clear when he took Jason Demetriou's pass.

It was also Tadulala's run that set up the position for Jeffries' drop goal, triggering celebrations on the pitch at the end of a night that showed how far Wakefield have come from their days as perennial strugglers against relegation.

* Leeds came from 18-6 down to snatch a dramatic victory over St Helens and extend their unbeaten run to 12 matches last night. Saints thought they had secured a point when Paul Sculthorpe put over a drop goal on 75 minutes to level the scores but the Rhinos hooker Matt Diskin went over for the match-winning try two minutes later. Leeds have now scored 995 points this season.

Wakefield: Field, Halpenny, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala, Ellis, Jeffries, Feather, D March, Korkidas, Solomona, Wrench, Spicer. Substitutes Used: Griffin, Snitch, Handforth, MacGillivray.

Huddersfield: Reilly, Donlan, Evans, Costin, St Hilaire, Gene, P March, Fleary, Penkywicz, Gannon, Smith, Bailey, Jones. Substitutes Used: O'Hare, Nero, Grayshon, White.

Referee: S Ganton (St Helens)