Warrington Wolves 26 Wakefield Trinity 14 match report: Wolves pounce and jump ahead in race for Shield
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
halliwell jones stadium
Sunday 11 August 2013
Warrington moved back into second place in Super League, but only after stubborn resistance from opponents with an eye on the top eight.
Chris Bridge scored a try and set up two for his wingman, Joel Monaghan, in an eye-catching display as the Wolves clambered above Wigan, hard on the heels of Huddersfield in the race for the League Leaders Shield.
"We were scrappy today, but good enough overall," said their coach, Tony Smith, of a ninth league win in a row.
For the Wildcats, however, defeat means that their hopes of making the play-offs are now almost non-existent.
Both sides were below optimum strength, with Warrington missing six regular first-teamers, including their natural leaders, Adrian Morley and Lee Briers, whilst Wakefield named what looked on paper like a rather ad hoc three-quarter line.
On the bench, they had a familiar name making his debut – Bobbie Goulding, son of the former Great Britain scrum-half and a graduate of the Wolves Academy.
It took almost 10 minutes of insistent pressure for Warrington to take the lead, Bridge getting his pass away for their leading try-scorer, Joel Monaghan, to sweep past the only man in his regular position in the Wildcats' backline, Ben Cockayne, and touch down.
Trinity equalised, rather against the run of play, when Micky Higham, enjoying such a marvellous season in the primrose and blue, had one of his less pleasurable moments, when he saw his pass intercepted by Lee Smith.
Wakefield worked the ball downfield methodically, for Tim Smith to launch a high kick, won by Frankie Mariano to level the scores.
They did not stay that way for long, Brett Hodgson spotting half a gap and wrestling his way through with his deceptive strength for such a slight man and put the Wolves back in front.
Back came the Wildcats through another of the season's individual stars, Danny Kirmond, and, with neither side able to kick a goal, that 8-8 scoreline would have been the way it stayed until half-time, had it not been for a strange try that put Warrington ahead for the third time.
The ball seemed to have gone forward off Michael Monaghan, but the referee, Tim Roby, waved play-on and Higham made up for his previous error by forcing the ball down, with Stefan Ratchford this time making no mistake with the kick either.
Wakefield showed no signs of bowing willingly to the inevitable and they camped on the Wolves line at the start of the second half looking for yet another leveller.
When they failed to find one that equaliser, they began to look vulnerable to Warrington's counter-attack, which saw more good centre play from Bridge give Joel Monaghan his second.
Bridge took Ben Westwood's pass to score a well-deserved try of his own and you could feel Wakefield's season grinding to a close.
They still managed a second intercept try, when Liam Kay, on his Super League debut, picked off Trent Waterhouse's pass, but as far as both the match and the season were concerned they had left themselves a little too much to do – a point rubbed in by a further Warrington try from Chris Riley.
Warrington Hodgson; J.Monaghan, Bridge, Grix, Riley; Ratchford, M.Monaghan; Hill, Higham, Wood, Westwood, Laithwaite, McCarthy. Substitutes used Waterhouse, Harrison, Currie, Dwyer.
Wakefield Mathers; Kay, Lyne, Mariano, Cockayne; L.Smith, T.Smith; Raleigh, Aiton, Amor, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Trout. Substitutes used Washbrook, Wilkes, Goulding, Tautai.
Referee T Roby.
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