Wakefield Wildcats preparations for the start of Super League have taken a hit after a 42-12 defeat to St. Helens at a bitterly cold Langtree Park.
The visitors were well beaten in the penultimate pre-season friendly and suffered injuries to the 2012 player of the year duo Andy Raleigh and Tim Smith.
Head coach Agar went into the game actually handing Raleigh and Frankie Mariano a first start of 2013 while Chris Annakin also made his first appearance of pre-season. The young back-rower has completed his suspension and was joined by youngster Liam Kay on the interchange bench.
The hosts opened the scoring through the ever impressive James Roby. The England hooker was too quick and strong for the visitors as he went over just next to the left upright with Jordan Turner missing a relatively easy conversion. Saints head coach Nathan Brown fielded a strong team for Wilkin’s big day with an equally strong bench including Lance Hohaia, Tony Puletua and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
The hosts extended their lead through Willie Manu after constant pressure and the forward crossed the line from close range with Turner adding the extras.
Wildcats scrum-half Tim Smith then appeared to pick up a knock and was replaced by Isaac John and the Kiwi made an instant impact. The replacement comnined well with fellow south sea islander Ali Lautiiti to go over for the Wildcats only try of the first half with Paul Sykes adding the extras.
Saints full-back Paul Wellens then went over after wriggling through the visitors defence which left John on the floor as Turner concluded the scoring for the first half at 16-6.
The second half proved to be more of a struggle as a number of the aforementioned St. Helens bench entered the field of play. Lance Hohaia opened up the scoring in the second period after replacing Roby and the Kiwi was too quick after bouncing over from dummy half. Fellow sub Ade Garner then went over following inventive play by the hosts and Wellens notched his second of the game in a walk-in try to make it 32-6.
Gardner grabbed his second score before Lee Gaskell added to the Wildcats wounds as he scored shortly before the full-time hooter. Even then there was time for a consolation effort by the visitors as Lee Smith powered his way over with a Sykes conversion meaning the full time scores was 42-12 to St. Helens.
To add to an injury to Tim Smith, Andy Raleigh left the field in the second half appearing to be holding his ribs in a bad day at the office for Wakefield.
Trinity continue their preparations for the start of Super League next Sunday when they travel to face Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Saints: Wellens, Makinson, Turner, Jones, Meli, Gaskell, Lomas; Laffranchi, Roby, Perry, Soliola, Wilkin, Manu. Bench: Gardner, Hohaia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Flanagan, Greenwood & Walmsley.
Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Lyne, L.Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, T.Smith; Poore, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Mariano & Washbrook. Bench: Trout, Wildie, Cowling, Singleton, John, Annakin & Kay.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.