WARRIORS 46-24 WILDCATS

posted on 2 March 2014

The Wildcats were on the end of a rampant first half from Wigan as injury hit Trinity suffered at the hands of the Champions.

The Warriors ran in nine tries with Sean O’Loughlin (2), Ryan Hampshire, Joe Burgess, Ben Flower, John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Iain Thornley and Dom Manfredi.

Wakefield responded through Ali Lauitiiti, Danny Kirmond, Peter Fox and Reece Lyne but on a day when Trinity had just two fit props to choose from, Wigan were simply too big and strong for the visitors.

Richard Agar handed a debut at centre to Luke Briscoe in place of the suspended Reece Lyne with Kyle Trout replacing Danny Washbrook at loose-forward who dropped to the bench.  Andy Raleigh joined Scott Anderson, Richard Moore and Chris Annakin on the injury list after tweaking a hamstring in the team run meaning Lucas Walshaw started at prop.

Jordan Crowther would come from the bench to earn the record as the youngest ever forward to play for the Wildcats and the sixth youngest player at 17 years and 11 days old.

There were no signs of jetlag from the Warriors as they worked an overlap after just four minutes for Manfredi to go over.  Trinity struggled to get out of their own half for the first ten minutes so it was completely against the run of play when the visitors took the lead.

Briscoe made an initial break down the left and when Wigan conceded a penalty to give the Wildcats a repeat set, Sammut found Lauitiiti with a short ball and there was no stopping the Kiwi from five metres out.

That was as good as it got for the travelling supporters as Wigan went up and gear and were simply too big and too strong for the Wildcats who were missing the option of rotating their middle men due to injuries.

Blake Green put Thornley through a hole with a fine pass after Danny Kirmond coughed up the ball on the return set after Lauitiiti’s try, before Matty Smith carved through the heart of defence on halfway and had the talismanic O’Loughlin in support to finish the move.

Each of the three tries for the Warriors had come off the back of errors or penalties and they continued to punish Trinity, making easy yards through the middle of the field.

O’Loughlin showed some neat footwork to go over after some sharp handling after 26 minutes and once Tony Clubb had returned the subsequent restart 70 metres it seemed a formality that Wigan would score, Hampshire on the spot to take advantage of a fumbled kick on the last.

The Warriors extended their lead minutes later as Bateman bullied his way over from close range as a shell shocked Wildcats craved some time with possession in their hands.

It finally came when Hampshire dropped the ball and Sammut raced 80 metres only to be hauled down inches short by a miraculous chase back from Farrell.  Trinity butchered the next play but had the penalty for offside and took advantage as Pita Godinet sent Kirmond over the top of Green to score.

Trinity had barely had half a dozen sets in the first period and almost managed that again in the final five minutes of the half but could conjure up no more points as the went in 30-12 down at the break.

The Wildcats began the second half with much more purpose and more importantly, much more ball.  Sammut came up with a piece of individual brilliance that almost brought about a try. It was another individual effort that created the score as Godinet read the play to intercept on his own line, race 70 metres before giving Fox the task of finishing in the corner.

Once again though it was a penalty that proved Wakefield’s downfall.  Sammut conced it on halfway and from the resultant set Flower powered his way to the line under pressure from Tautai who looked to have held him up.

Crowther entered the fray just short of the hour mark and saw full-back Richard Mathers sin binned moments before Farrell rumbled his way over from ten metres.

Wakefield survived the ten minutes down to 12 men after that and soon after Mathers returned added a fourth try.  Sammut stole the ball one-on-one and sent Lyne 90 metres down the touchline and under the posts.

TEAMS:

Warriors

Hampshire, Burgess, Gelling, Thornley, Manfredi, Green, Smith, Flower, McIlorum, Taylor, Farrell, Bateman, O’Loughlin. Replacements: Tomkins, Crosby, Burke, Clubb.

Wildcats

Mathers, Fox, Sykes, Briscoe, Lyne, Sammut, Godinet, Walshaw, McShane, Smith, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Trout. Replacements: Washbrook, Tautai, Ryan, Crowther.

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