Warrington scored 11 tries past a defence Wakefield's coach, John Kear, called "atrocious". The Wolves looked by far the more likely side to figure in the play-offs at the end of the season as they ran away with the game in the second half, Kevin Penny scoring what will be one of the easier hat-tricks in what is set to be a prolific career.
On an afternoon of 15 tries in total it was one that was not scored that could have the bigger bearing on the result. If Paul Reilly had scored down the right flank midway through the second half, it could have been 40-30 to Warrington – an appropriate score line on the day of the men's singles final and not a hopeless one from the visitors' viewpoint.
But Reilly was nailed by a high tackle from Lewis Anderson, the chance was wasted and Warrington immediately scored at the other end, through Martin Gleeson. Kear, however, refused to identify that as a turning point.
"They were always going to score more points than us because our defence was atrocious," he said, declining to accept a short turnaround from a match on Tuesday night or a looming Cup semi-final as valid excuses either.
On a day when try-scoring was often devalued by woeful tackling, Warrington took the lead through Matt King before Wakefield went in front through Matt Petersen and Richard Moore.
Lee Briers' dummy set up Jon Clarke for the equaliser and Warrington led through Chris Riley, Michael Monaghan and Simon Grix before Matthew Blaymire hit back for the Wildcats. Penny went 80 metres for his first try immediately before half-time and King got over soon after the break. Jason Demetriou narrowed the gap before Reilly's missed chance and Gleeson's try.
The pick of the lot came when Monaghan chipped the defence and King gathered to set up Penny, who then strolled in for his third after Riley scored a second.
"It's all down to Kevin [Penny] keeping his feet on the ground, but he's got great potential," said the Warrington coach, James Lowes, who criticised the winger for some premature celebrations on the way to his hat-trick try. "That was a little bit disrespectful to the opposition, but it's all part of his learning."
Warrington: Hicks; Riley, Martin Gleeson, King, Penny; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, L Anderson, Westwood, V Anderson. Substitutes used: Cooper, Parker, Grix, Harrison.
Wakefield: Blaymire; S Gleeson, Demetriou, Atkins, Petersen; Drew, Brough; Wilkes, Obst, Moore, Ferres, MacGillivray, Golden. Substitutes used: Reilly, Bibey, Ferguson, Sculthorpe.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).Reuse content