With two sides at opposite ends of the table, there was much to play for between Wakefield Trinity and Wigan Warriors with very different aspirations. Wigan wanted the two points to get within two points of St Helens at the top of the table after they lost to the Dragons last night while Trinity were getting dragged closer to the relegation spot after Toulouse surprised Hull KR yesterday.
The bookies couldn´t see past a big Wigan win with Trinity getting a fourteen-point start on the handicap coupon, mainly because they were walloped by the Salford Red Devils last time out in a humiliating 74-10 defeat. Wigan were looking for a fifth consecutive win and most pundits believed that they wouldn´t have an issue.
Wigan started the game with a Harry Smith 40-20 in the opening seconds, laying out their stall. Three plays in and a flat pass from Bevan French was taken by Kai Pearce-Paul for the best possible start with two minutes on the clock. Smith added the conversion from close to the touchline for a great 6-0 start.
It was champagne rugby from Wigan, Smith being held up just short on seven minutes and on eleven minutes Pearce-Paul took a cut-out pass and fed Liam Marshall to go in for the second try. Smith used the wind to guide a second conversion over the sticks for 12-0.
A delayed pass from Bevan French hit Liam Farrell to go through the gap on fourteen minutes, Wakefield already looking down the barrel of a devastating score line. Smith knocked the conversion over with ease.
On Wakefield´s first attack of the game, on twenty minutes, Max Jowitt threw the dummy and scored in the corner. Mason Lino added the extras himself for 6-18.
The game gained a totally different complexion on twenty-five with Jay Pitts collecting a Lino grubber and dotting down. Lino added the conversion from close to the uprights to reduce the arrears to just six points.
A sensational moment of skill from Bevan French, weaving through the defence from twenty metres out and stretching out to ground on the line. Smith added the goal for 24-12, Wigan re-establishing control after a little wobble.
Dissent from Lino saw the Wakefield play maker sin-binned on thirty-six, a blow for the home side.
Against the twelve men Wigan went over down the right-hand side with Willie Isa finding Abas Miski to score in the corner. Smith couldn’t add the extras from wide, Wigan 28-12 up at the interval.
Miski got his second of the game on forty-four with Field once again the supplier as Wigan exploited the extra man on the overlap. Smith added the conversion from wide for 34-12.
French got his second on forty-seven when he outclassed and outsmarted debutant Kyle Evans to a loose ball, hacked it forwards and chased it down to ground by the posts. Smith added the conversion to bring up the forty.
A clever kick from Lino was collected on the half hour by Evans to ground and make amends for his earlier error. Lino added the conversion, but Trinity were still twenty-two points adrift. Three minutes later Max Jowitt shot through the defensive line for the fourth Wakefield try of the game as Wigan seemed to ease off the accelerator. Lino couldn´t add the extras from wide.
Pearce-Paul joined the two try club on seventy-eight when he went through a big gap off a Patrick Mago pass. Smith added the goal for a final score of 46-22, a comfortable Wigan win to send them second and into next weekend´s Magic game against St Helens in good form.
Wakefield had their moments but for the majority of the game they were outplayed by a fluid Wigan outfit who, at times, were their own worst enemies as they eased off the gas and left the door ajar for more Trinity points. At times it was exhibition stuff from the Warriors backs, they just need to maintain their concentration for the full eighty minutes.
Wakefield will now belooking nervously at their Magic Weekend fixture where a loss to Toulouse could see them just two points off the drop position.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt (2T), Murphy, Hall, Croft, Evans (T), Miller, Lino (3G, SB on 36), Whitbread, Hood, Arona, Ashurst, Pitts (T), Batchelor. Subs: Crowther, Fifita, Tanginoa, Butler.
Wigan Warriors: French (2T), Miski (2T), Isa, Pearce-Paul (T), Marshall (T), Field, Smith (6G), Singleton, Powell, Byrne, Farrell (T), Bateman, Shorrocks. Subs: Bibby, Mago, Partington, Havard.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-18, 4-18, 6-18, 10-18, 12-18, 12-22, 12-24, (SB), 12-28 : HT : 12-32, 12-34, 12-38, 12-40, 16-40, 18-40, 22-40, 22-44, 22-46 : FT.
Lead Exchanges: Wigan.
Referee: Chris Kendall.