sport

Webster relieved with victory

James Webster admitted he was relieved after beginning his Wakefield tenure with a hard-fought 18-10 victory over relegation-doomed London Broncos.

The Wildcats struggled badly during the first half in particular at a rain-soaked Belle Vue and trailed 10-4 at the break.

Captain Danny Kirmond put the hosts in front early on but the Broncos hit back with tries from Iliess Macani and Thomas Minns to establish a deserved interval lead.

However, the Wildcats improved after the break and tries from Daniel Smith and Matt Ryan in the final quarter of the match put them home and dry.

Rookie Australian coach Webster, who replaced Richard Agar at the helm last week, said: "I'm just relieved to get the win to be honest.

"We played some efficient rugby and the most pleasing thing was we only gave away two tries.

"I thought our defence, other than one line break, was really good.

"It was about respecting the conditions - I thought London did a good job on playing them in the first half.

"I knew they would be tough and the conditions suited them.

"There are a couple of times every couple of years you get conditions like that and we just didn't acclimatise to them in the first half.

"We dropped the ball seven times when not under pressure but once we decided to respect the conditions we got better."

The result lifted Wakefield eight points clear of Bradford and was a massive boost to their survival prospects.

The Bulls failed in their appeal against their six-point penalty for entering administration this week and are now in big trouble.

Yet Webster insisted: "We are well and truly nowhere near safe.

"I look at Bradford's squad and they have got a run in them at some point.

"There was no talk about Bradford's points appeal result in the week and I'm past looking at what they're doing.

"Like I say, I'm just relieved and happy for the boys because they showed some true grit."

Webster said forward Jon Molloy had sustained suspected shoulder injury and would be assessed, while London coach Joe Grima was left disappointed and proud in equal measure.

The Broncos battled hard and led 10-4 heading into the final quarter but they could not keep the Wildcats at bay.

Yet Grima said: "We want to win so bad we can taste it and we've got a group of players who can rival teams in the top eight for togetherness.

"That's the sort of stuff that makes me want to get up every morning - the willingness of the guys to win.

"It's probably our execution that has let us down but that was the best performance defensively we've had.

"We've leaked a ridiculous amount of points but I'm really proud of the forwards tonight and that was their best game so far."

Grima paid tribute to half-back Josh Drinkwater, adding: "I'm his biggest fan and we wouldn't have brought him over if I didn't think he could play.

"I'm really happy with Josh and the way he's pushing the team around."