Warrington warmed up for their Challenge Cup final against Huddersfield next Saturday by playing the supporting role in a try-fest last night.
The Wolves now face an uphill struggle on another front, with a place in the Super League play-offs possibly beyond them, but they escaped without any obvious new injury worries for Wembley.
Wakefield were good value for their win, trading tries with the Wolves in the first half, but drawing away from them in the second. The first 15 minutes consisted of alternating bursts of virtuosity from two rival half-backs, Sam Obst and Lee Briers.
Obst, in for the suspended Danny Brough, got the ball rolling by setting up Dale Ferguson. Warrington, fielding 10 of their likely Wembley line-up, hit back with a piece of Briers brilliance, chipping over the defence and catching on the full to present Kevin Penny with the equalising try.
The diminutive Obst put the Wildcats ahead again with an electrifying 40m dash from dummy half, but equally breathtaking was Briers' cross-field kick to enable Paul Johnson to level the scores once more. The pattern was broken when Matt Blaymire produced the decisive moment of skill – a lovely one-handed pass out of the tackle to put Luke George over. Warrington hit the front again in style, however, when Chris Riley intercepted and went 80m, but it was the visitors who finished the first half ahead. That was thanks to Brad Drew and Scott Grix releasing Sean Gleeson.
Wakefield broke away in the second half, when Drew's long pass gave George his second. A penalty followed before the outstanding Obst went over for his second.
The Wolves continued to compete when Michael Monaghan scored from close range, but Wakefield made sure of the points with a try from Dale Morton. Garreth Carvell got one back in the last minute.
The only slight concerns for the Warrington coach, Tony Smith, were touches of concussion for Vinnie Anderson and Mike Cooper, plus a recurrence of an old ankle injury for Jon Clarke. "But I'm hopeful they'll all be alright," he said.
Warrington: Mathers; Riley, Bridge, Johnson, Penny; Briers, Clarke; Morley, Monaghan, Carvell, L Anderson, V Anderson, Westwood. Substitutes used: Cooper, Rauhihi, McCarthy, Mitchell.
Wakefield: Blaymire; Morton, Gleeson, Atkins, George; Grix, Obst; Korkidas, Drew, Stosic, Wilkes, Henderson, Ferguson. Substitutes used: Snitch, Leo-Latu, Moore, Bibb.
Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).Reuse content