Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 18
Warrington Wolves 36
Carnegie Challenge Cup Finalists Warrington Wolves stayed in second place in the Engage Super League table after their comfortable win over the Wildcats who were playing their last home league game of the season at Belle Vue.
Although it was another defeat for the Wildcats and they were outgunned by the Cheshire side, there were some encouraging signs that Wakefield’s form nightmare is coming to an end.
The team never stopped trying and there were flashes of football that had Warrington, even in second gear as their assistant coach James Lowes claimed after the game they were playing in ‘second gear’.
Wakefield head coach John Kear said: “There are signs that what we’ve been working on in training are beginning to be delivered and from that point of view it was very encouraging.
“We’re just going to keep supporting the players on their quest to return to form and we’re taking something positive away from this match.”
We knew that life wasn’t going to be easy from the first five minutes when Tevita Leo Latu, playing his last match at Belle Vue before moving to Salford City Reds for 2011 had the ball stolen from him in a tackle and they failed to ground the ball properly with the line at his mercy..
The Wolves punished them by going straight back up then field to score a try through Chris Hicks after a deft cross-field kick by Lee Briers.
And there were even more worrying signs even after that when Warrington penetrated the Wakefield line with incisive runs by fullback Chris Riley both of which were ended by saving tackles.
The third time he got through there was another tackle but this time the Wolves full-back succeeded in off loading the ball to the supporting Matt King, who scored near the posts.
Fortunately for the Wildcats Ben Westwood missed both conversions.
The side’s confidence took another knock in the 23rd minute when Damien Blanch failed to hold a long kick down field and the ball rolled into touch. After the scrum Warrington fed the ball to the other side of the field and Matt King collected his second try of the game from a stroll in.
Amazingly Westwood missed the kick from almost in front of the posts.
Wakefield finally broke through the Wolves like and Paul Cooke was the locksmith who had the right tools. A deft grubber kicked rolled over the Warrington line and Blanch squeezed between two defenders to touch down. But Cooke screwed his conversion attempt wide.
But Warrington were soon back in their stride and in the 32nd minute Chris Riley reached out of a tackle to touchdown and Westwood this time added the goal points.
The Wildcats kept fighting and a minute from the end of the first half they fashioned their second try. The ball was knocked backwards on the halfway line and Glenn Morrison tidied up and offloaded to King.
The prop reached round a tackler and sent a great pass out to Ben Jeffries, who used his pace to round the Warrington cover on the right. He fought his way a few more metres towards the Wolves posts before grounding. That made it that bit easier for Ben to slot home the conversion.
But that confidence was soon punctured in the second half when Warrington centre Matty Blythe received the ball from a kick forward and crossed the Wildcat line for 41st minute try to which Westwood added the goal points.
Matt King completed his hat-trick in the 48th minute. Westwood drove into a two-man tackle and got the ball away to the supporting King who just had to touch down.
To be fair to the Wildcats they plugged away and there were flashes of good football and bouyed up by their success Wakefield produced their third try on the hour through Glenn Morrison who battled his way through several tacklers to touch down. Jeffries conversion attempt was, however, off target.
Again the Cup Finalists shrugged off the setback and Sam Obst had a pass intercepted by Lee Briers 60 metres out and the Welsh international outpaced both Obst and Blanch to score under the posts. And Briers also converted the try himself.
Ten minutes from the end more determined running by the Wildcats brought its reward. An interchange of passes between Jeffries and Leo-Latu ended when Salford bound Leo-Latu scored a try wide out on the right to sign off his red, white and blue career.
Wildcats: AaronMurphy; Danny Kirmond, Paul Johnson, Daryl Millard, Damien Blanch; Paul Cooke, Ben Jeffries; Charlie Leaeno, Sam Obst, Michael Korkidas, Jason Demetriou, Glenn Morrison, Tevita Leo-Latu. Interchange: Kevin Henderson, Paul King, Richard Moore, Julien Rinaldi.
Wolves: Chris Riley; Chris Hicks, Matty Blythe, Ryan Atkins, Matt King; Lee Briers, Richie Myler,; Adrian Morley, Jon Clarke, Gareth Carvell, Louis Anderson, Ben Westwood, Ben Harrison. Interchange: Paul Wood, Mickey Higham, Mike Cooper, Vinnie Anderson.
Referee: Mr. B Thaler (RFL).