The Wildcats earned a first home win of 2012 with an impressive performance against the in-form Catalans Dragons.
Peter Fox scored a brace of tries in the first half to set the Wildcats on their way to a victory in front of over 7,000 fans at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Ben Cockayne, Andy Raleigh and Danny Kirmond added further tries for the home side with Isaac John kicking six goals from his six attempts.
Gregory Mounis, Scott Dureau, Vincent Duport and Clint Greenshields fleetingly threated a Dragons comeback but it was the Wildcats who deservedly held out for the win.
Richard Agar welcomed back Dean Collis to his starting line-up with Kirmond reverting to the back-row and Steve Southern starting on the replacements bench with Lucas Walshaw the one to miss out.
The Dragons began in ominous looking fashion, showing typical flare with ball in hand and testing the Wildcats up the middle and on the edges but Wakefield withstood the early pressure and struck first.
After seeing out a set and tapping on the 20 metre line, Fox’s strong carry got the Wildcats on the front foot and Smith popped a ball up for Cockayne who raced the best part of 50 metres to go under the sticks.
It got better shortly after with Smith at the heart of things again as he lofted a kick to the right and as Dean Collis competed in the air, the ball went over his head and the Dragons defence and Fox was in the right place at the right time to get his first home try since his return.
The Wildcats were making good decisions defensively and showing a clinical composure in attack, empitomised by Smith who was put under pressure on the last, stepped and passed to Washbrook who spun in the tackle and offloaded to Raleigh who was in next to the posts.
Catalans had lost some of their fluidity in attack until they finally got over on the back of a Wildcats penalty with Mounis taking a short ball to get over the whitewash.
But the final word of the half belonged to the Wildcats and Fox. Dureau’s kick put Collis under pressure and with players from either side only able to get fingertips to the ball, Fox swooped on the loose ball, evaded a couple of ankle taps and sprinted 95 metres before saluting the North Stand as he slid over the line on the hooter.
Catalans had shown earlier in the season at St. Helens that they were more than capable of completing a comeback so it was important the Wildcats began the second period well and Isaac John ensured a steady enough start by slotting over a twenty metre penalty.
The lead was further extended when Kirmond, slotting in at centre for the injured Dean Collis, took the pass and showed incredible strength and determination to score in the corner, carrying at least two Dragons defenders over the line with him.
However, Wakefield invited the visitors back into the game when their exuberance got the better off them as they looked to play expansively only for Dureau to read Cockayne’s pass and canter 30 metres to pick up the four points.
The Wildcats settled down with the pack belying the size advantage the Dragons had over them by making good metres all afternoon and forcing a goal-line drop-out after Smith’s kick was chased enthusiastically.
Catalans claimed the short drop-out and when Sa kicked for the corner, Cockayne had a horror moment as he looked to kick the ball dead, with his air shot allowing Duport to pick up a simple try.
The nerves in the excellent crowd really began to jangle fifteen minutes from time after an outstanding Dragons try started and finished by Greenshields.
He found Dureau on his own thirty metre line, he scampered away and after good hands and offloads down the right hand side, Greenshields was in support to bring the visitors within eight points after Dureau’s conversion.
Much to the relief of the Wildcats supporters, the final five minutes were seen off without any real threat and John added his sixth successful goal kick on the hooter to complete a thoroughly deserved victory.
Wakefield: Mathers; Fox, Collis, Mellars, Cockayne; John, Smith; Amor, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Replacements: Wood, Southern, Johnson, Wilkes.Catalan
Dragons: Bosc; Greenshields, Baile, Duport, Millard; Pryce, Dureau; Paea, Fisher, Casty, Sa, Raguin, Baitieri.Replacements: Ferriol, Mounis, Pelissier, Fakir.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.