Richard Agar fielded an almost full strength Wakefield side for the Hawks final home pre season game. A late first half spell saw the home side chasing their tails until half time. A lot of great things on show from the Hawks made the 40-20 defeat easier to take.
The Hawks dominated the opening quarter, Brickwood handling the regular high ball with confidence. Ansell’s kicking game was also making things difficult for the Wildcats. Liam Mackay and Matthew Tebb secured the visitors skipper Kirmond giving him no room to move and when fiery winger Mapals stole the ball from Lauititi hands it looked as if the Hunslet side had picked up where they left off last week. But when Max Jowitt took advantage of some space out wide crossing the whitewash early on, it put the Hawks on the back foot; Paul Sykes was set on intimidating the Hawks with spiralling high balls early in the tackle count but Kain and Brickwood handled them expertly and made good metres off the back of them. It was encouraging to see the Hawks standing up for themselves against a team 2 leagues above them. Hawks young forward George Clarke was taking on the line and requiring 2/3 defenders to stop him in his tracks. Eaton’s side began to tire and it was left up to Kain and Watson to make a try saving ankle tap on skipper Kirmond, notorious for his breaks in the Superleague the Hawks had to be more aware of his presence in centre field. The next try came lucky for Jowitt as he picked up a loose ball from a wayward pass and touched it down for his second. More points followed for the Wildcats as they pushed themselves 3 tries ahead. The home side looked to still be competing but they suffered badly from the whistle countless penalties and the officials awarding the next try despite a dubious forward pass in the play leading up to it. On the 40 minute mark things worsened as Peter Fox pushed himself over after breaking through a tackle metres out; 28-0 at half time.
Hopes were high for a comeback from the Hawks but when tempers flared Ali Lauititi and George Clarke were both sent packing to the sin bin. It was Hunslet who came out worse off as Paul Sykes finally got his name on the score list after looking dangerous all afternoon. The home sides fighting spirit saw them struggling their way back into it against a physically stronger Wakefield side that were intent on not making it easy for them. Grimshaw was brought on to try and spark things off for the Hawks, controlling play from the back he was almost across the whitewash himself. The defence had also picked up, Aaron Lyons forcing the knock on with a huge hit up on the right that shook the Wildcats. Lyons was making himself known this afternoon and an inventive pass flicked onto Brickwood who dived over to get the Hawks on the scoreboard at long last. Hunslet looked to have learned how to deal with the offloads and were much more effective defensively. Aston Wilson came on as a substitution and it only took 5 minutes before he managed to break through the defence and sprint half the field, a perfectly timed pass to Brickwood who was in for his second try. The game once again turned on its head when Wakefield scored an easy try between the posts. A great run out last week in the Lazenby Cup had given the boys the confidence they needed to be able to compete today and a massive effort in the second half was positive for the Hawks. James Davies caught the ball running and stormed across the line to score a try from 5 yards out. With only seconds left on the clock, last week’s man of the match Oakes was the first to a loose ball and the second rower who had impressed again today forced his way over to round things off; fullback Kain added the extras and the game finished at 40-20.
The score not a reflection of how well the Hawks had worked in the second 40 minutes, the 15 minute spell had cost them in the first half but again a great display from a Hunslet outfit who looked ready to start the league campaign.