Saints floored by ferocious Wildcats

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The Independent Online

Troubled Wakefield sprung one of the shocks of the Super League season with a 32-16 demolition of in-form St Helens yesterday.

Troubled Wakefield sprung one of the shocks of the Super League season with a 32-16 demolition of in-form St Helens yesterday.

The Wildcats, who face an uncertain future after running into major financial problems, knocked Saints completely out of their stride with some tenacious tackling that forced them into a string of uncharacteristic errors.

St Helens were on course for an eighth successive win when the scrum-half Sean Long dummied his way through the Trinity defence for Fereti Tuilagi to score the opening try after 10 minutes. But the Wildcats had two tries disallowed before the prop Frank Watene went over for an equalising try and, after Long had carved out a second for Tuilagi, Warren Jowitt crashed over the try-line just before half-time to tie the scores for a second time.

The home side went in front for the first time thanks to a try from Paul March, converted by Graham Law, and then Ben Westwood and Neil Law went over to give Wakefield a 16-point cushion. Long then set up a try for Anthony Sullivan, but Wakefield secured a famous victory with a try from Martyn Holland.

The Wildcats coach, Tony Kemp, said: "This was a very, very good performance in the face of adversity. It was a credit to the club and the never-say-die attitude of the players.

"I set a goal to get 14 points for the season and we have got them with five games left."

His St Helens counterpart, Ian Millward, said: "They were just too good for us on the day. Considering all their problems, they played really well and showed lots of desire. We were put under a lot of pressure, more so by ourselves than anyone else. It would have been an injustice if Wakefield had lost.

Leeds registered their 13th win in a row to virtually book themselves a play-off berth with a 20-12 victory over the bottom club Huddersfield-Sheffield at the McAlpine Stadium.

Graham Mackay scored the Rhinos' fifth try five minutes from time to end the Giants' fightback after they took a first-half lead with a try from Waisale Sovatabua.

Tries from Richie Blackmore, David Barnhill and Keith Senior kept the Rhinos in front, but they could not breathe easily until Mackay's late score.

The former London winger Martin Offiah, who has been a thorn in the side of his old club since moving to Salford, scored the try that helped the Reds to their fourth win of the season over the Broncos in front of a crowd of just 2,040 at The Valley - the lowest of the season in Super League.

Offiah, who scored in Salford's previous two wins at The Valley, went over after 67 minutes to clinch a 16-10 victory and complete a remarkable recovery. The visitors trailed 10-2 at half time, but inspired by Steve Blakeley they responded with 14 unanswered points.