A late fight-back from the Wildcats under 19s was held off from Bradford Bulls as the hosts ran out 26-18 winners at the Provident Stadium in the opening fixture of the their academy campaign.
The fixture was the first under the stewardship of Stuart Dickens while captain Corbyn Kilday lead the team out for the first time which included a number of players making their first appearance in the red, white and blue.
The opening stages were pretty scrappy and when Wildcats forward Ben Shulver passed out-wide it was smartly intercepted by Kyle Moore, who put the afterburners on to race the length of the pitch for the opening score of the match.
A penalty from the kick-off then gave the Bulls the chance to build on that lead immediately, which they did after some smart work from Naughton put captain Wood in attacking position where he just managed to get the four-pointer before Wakefield defenders pushed him off the pitch.
The Wildcats began to build some pressure but the home defence was holding firm as firstly James Healy was held up over the line and Mathew Cook was then forced into touch before he was able to get the ball down
An injury to Naughton brought proceedings to a halt but the Bulls did not let that affect them as Adam Brook ghosted past a couple of tacklers before producing a sublime offload to set up Alex Mellor for the score. Gale then converted which sent the Bulls 14-0 up at the break.
Despite Trinity captain Kilday being sent to the bin for consistent penalties, the visitors looked to have started the second half the brighter but more heroics from the Bulls defensive line stopped Danny Maskill from scooting his way over.
Shortly after though, Wakefield’s persistent infringement saw hooker Maskill sent to the bin, putting them down to just 11 bodies.
But the Wildcats held strong as the Bulls were unable to take advantage, and, when the match was back to 13 v 13, the visitors pounced with Brandon Conway first to touchdown a neat grubber kick in goal. Sam Doherty booted the extras.
The home side were quickly back in business minutes later though, as this time they were able to take full advantage on the back of a penalty when Jarrod Ward connected to Wood’s audacious offload. Gale then kicked from the touchline to re-establish their 14 point lead.
However, the game was not won there, as the visitors fought back with back-to-back tries from Shulver and Conway with Doherty converting both, but the Bulls secured the win late on when Wood rounded off a man of the match performance with a second try. Gale goaled to finish the scoring.
Bradford Bulls: Curtis Naughton; Kyle Moore, Josh Casey, Sam Wood(c), Jarrod Ward; Jordan Gale, Adam Brook; Connor Nolan, Nathan Conroy, Jordan Hargreaves, Alex Mellor, Josh Halliday, Sam Bates. Subs: Nick Gomersall, Dan Gregory, Brad Adams, Steve Copeland.
Tries: Moore 12, Wood 15, 78, Mellor 33 and Ward 65.
Goals: Naughton 0/2, Gale 3/3.
Wakefield Wildcats: Curtis Macdonald; Brandon Conway, Mat Cook, Tom Rogers, Sam Doherty; Louis Nicholls, Josh Kittrick; Ben Shulver, Josh Murphy, James Healy, Brad Day, Jack Anderson, Cobyn Kilday. Subs: Dan Maskill, Jack Walton, Reece Trout, Will Martin.
Tries: Conway 60, 70 and Shulver 66.
Goals: Doherty 3/3
Referee: M Mannifield
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.