Wakefield confirmed the massive strides they have made this season by completely outplaying St Helens in difficult conditions in this Super League fixture at Belle Vue last night. A Saints side lacking too many of its big guns was regularly undone by Wakefield's ability to get the ball out of the tackle and the quality of their support play.
David March had a field day as hooker for the Wildcats, but they had outstanding performers all over the field, notably two players of Greek ancestry already on a sporting high thanks to events in Portugal, Michael Korkidas and Jason Demetriou.
It was Korkidas who repaired the damage caused by Paul Sculthorpe's second minute try for Saints, getting a gem of a ball away to Colum Halpenny, with Sid Domic arriving in support to score. "Once we got up with the pace of the game, we dominated throughout,'' said the justifiably delighted Wakefield coach, Shane McNally.
That dominance began when Gareth Ellis got the ball away for Demetriou, who moved it to Ben Jeffries for a quick second try. Then Michael Wainwright intercepted from Sculthorpe to go 90 yards and make it three tries in seven minutes - despite a chase from the official Fastest Man in Rugby League, Darren Albert. Then Jeffries picked up a loose ball and went 80 yards for another stunning try.
Saints briefly looked capable of getting back into the game when Paul Wellens's enterprise sparked an attack from which Ade Gardner slid in at the corner at the start of the second half. But then March made a telling burst to serve the ball up to Steve Snitch and then rescued a loose ball for Demetriou to send Semi Tadulala away.
A Saint Helens player who deserved an award was their teenage substitute James Roby and he got one with his first try for the club. But Wakefield rounded off a fine night's work with March's seventh goal and a drop goal from Jeffries, whilst Willie Talau's last-minute effort for Saints did not even put a better complexion on the defeat.
Wakefield: Halpenny, Wainwright, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala, Ellis, Jeffries, Field, March, Korkidas, Solomona, Applegarth, Spicer. Substitutes: Snitch, Handforth, Talipeau, Blake.
St Helens: Albert, Gardner, Gilmour, Talau, Hardman, Hooper, Wellens, Fozzard, Wilkin, Mason, Joynt, Edmondson, Sculthorpe. Substitutes: Feaunati, Fa'asavalu, Graham, Roby.
Referee: K Kirkpatrick of Warrington.
* Bradford have won the legal tug-of-war for the services of Iestyn Harris, who returned to rugby league this week after a three-year exile in Welsh rugby union. His former club, Leeds, claimed that they had a contract to which Harris agreed when he left them for Cardiff, under the terms of which his registration would revert to them if he came back to his original code, but the Rugby League has ruled that the only valid contract is the one he has with the Bulls. Harris is now free to play for his new club.
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