McNamara boost for Wakefield

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The Independent Online

Bradford's head coach, Steve McNamara, watched his side drive Wakefield further towards the relegation precipice - and then tipped them to avoid the drop. The Wildcats, who displaced Wigan as relegation favourites following their disastrous defeat at Huddersfield last Sunday, slipped deeper into the mire thanks to a 42-20 home defeat by the Super League champions on Friday night.

Trinity are bereft of confidence following a run of seven defeats in eight matches, but McNamara, who had a brief playing spell at Belle Vue, believes they can preserve their top-flight status. "They have got far too many talented individuals," he said. "I've been in this situation before with Huddersfield and it can be difficult with regard to players' futures. I think they have enough talent to get themselves out of trouble. They probably need a bit of luck. I certainly wish them all the best and hope that they play their way out of it."

Wakefield's chief executive, Steve Ferres, said the result heightened the need to appoint a successor to Tony Smith and confirmed that the Salford assistant James Lowes was among the candidates, with an announcement due this week. Ferres selected the team but left the senior players to call the shots. Skipper Monty Betham, club captain Jason Demetriou and New Zealand international David Solomona between them delivered the half-time pep talk.

"The players wanted that responsibility," he said. "They wanted to prove that they could get themselves back up after last week's performance."

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the players could not make amends for their 26-20 defeat at Huddersfield, and the interval chat was simply about restoring pride as they faced a 24-4 deficit.

Tries either side of half-time by the former Bradford centre Ryan Atkins hinted at a comeback, and stand-off Jamie Rooney also touched down twice in quick succession, but it was all too little, too late. Bradford, quickly out of the blocks, had the game wrapped up inside half-an-hour thanks to tries from Karl Pryce (two), Jamie Langley and Lesley Vainikolo.

They added others in the second half through Langley, Ian Henderson and Shontayne Hape, with Paul Deacon kicking seven goals from eight attempts, to keep alive their outside hopes of a top-three finish. "This was a step in the right direction," McNamara said.