Wire fan Rob Watson – aka Spirit of 55 – gives his take on the defeat at Wakefield...

FROM the sublime to the ridiculously annoying.

The Wakefield away game always feels like travelling back in time. If I was being generous, I would say the stadium reminds me of the 1980s.

This match though felt like a much shorter trip back, to the second half of last season.

Everything that was so pleasing about the first two performances was gone. The enthusiasm, the energy, the offloads, the willingness to pass the ball and the big hits in defence all seemed to disappear.

Wire looked like a team who had half expected the game to be called off and their preparation had suffered because of it. Either that or they had prepared to play in a storm and were surprised when the conditions weren’t that bad.

No rain fell during the game, so the biggest impact on play was the soft, heavy pitch and the strong swirling wind.

The slow nature of the Wire performance could in part be due to the pitch – it’s difficult to run as hard as you want when it feels like you are running in a bog and from there it is difficult to get any sort of speed into your play.

But to blame conditions for this performance would be letting the team off far too easily.

The most disappointing thing for me was a reluctance to produce the same style of play we had seen in the first two games.

Granted, the conditions were far from ideal for offloading the ball, but to hardly offload the ball all game seemed like too much of a change for the conditions.

Without those offloads, players looked a little lost as to how they would break down the stubborn Wakefield defence.

To be fair, Wire defended well for most of the game, although it should be noted that Wakefield didn’t challenge them too much.

For an hour or so, it looked like one try would win it for whoever scored it. Finally, a quality of load was produced by Wire, from Currie close to the Wakefield line with three defenders on him.

Currie’s performance was one of the very few highlights to take from the game. Whilst he’s not back to his best yet, he looks to be heading towards it.

On this occasion he popped the ball up to Ratchford, who was able to run round close to the posts to score and when he converted his own try Wire had an eight points to six lead.

Just for a couple of minutes after that, it looked like Wire might just produce another quick try or two to put the game to bed. But handling errors meant that those tries never came and it was all set for a nervous finish.

When Ashurst crashed over for Wakefield from close range, it meant that Wire were behind with eight minutes to go.

At that point they did start to throw the ball around a bit more, but that only resulted in another try for Wakefield when Mamo’s pass hit the ground and it was swooped on by Johnstone, who raced 40 metres to score the clinching try.

It’s the sort of time when this Wire team’s identity is unclear. Were the first two games the anomaly, are we going to suffer the same playing style as last year for the rest of the season?

Or hopefully and more likely, is this game the blip? Where in old cricket parlance, they got stuck on a sticky wicket. Maybe they are going to be a showtime team that only plays well in the big games or on TV.

It was good to see Widdop make his debut. That won’t be his best performance for the Wire, but he did produce a few good short kicks close to the Wakefield line, something Wire have been missing for a while.

He also threw out a few nice passes and showed glimpses that he will quickly be able to link up well with Austin, Ratchford and over on the left edge with Currie.

It was odd that there was no place in the team for Ashton, especially with the absence of Gelling. Although, maybe Ashton playing on that pitch would have been the equivalent of making a Derby-winning racehorse run through a swamp.

Wakefield always seems a strange place to play. There is a lack of intensity about the game, it gives off the vibe of a pre-season friendly or a nine a-side tournament.

Top class teams of course can motivate themselves to play any opponent, anywhere and find a way to win in no matter what the conditions.

Everybody, everywhere is allowed a bad day. One goal for the season now can be for Wire to show just how bad a day this was for them.