Wood belies his age to stage comeback

Warrington 38 Wakefield 30
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The Independent Online

Nathan Wood, the oldest player on the field, scored the final pair of a compelling game's 12 tries to consolidate Warrington's place in the top six.

Nathan Wood, the oldest player on the field, scored the final pair of a compelling game's 12 tries to consolidate Warrington's place in the top six.

The former Wakefield scrum-half, who admits to being 32, has a knack of coming up with crucial late plays and did it again in the last 20 minutes yesterday.

"He's as tough as they come," said the Warrington coach Paul Cullen. "It was a question of who wasn't going to crack and it needed something special to put our noses in front." Wakefield have won only one of their last seven and are now in Widnes' sights in the relegation scramble.

"I'm pretty upbeat because we played better today," said their coach, Shane McNally. "We've got to keep our nerve and things will turn around."

Wakefield got off to a fine start with David March going over after four minutes and Semi Taduala then winning the contest for Jamie Rooney's high kick for their second try, converted by Rooney.

Having given Wakefield that start Warrington set about repairing the damage. They showed their enterprise by running the ball on the last tackle for Logan Swann to go over before a vivid illustration of the quality of Martin Gleeson.

First the Great Britain centre took a short pass from Lee Briers to blaze through; then he moved the ball to Henry Fa'afili for the third Wolves try.

An 80-metre run from Brent Grose and some lapse Wakefield defence took Warrington into a 10-point lead. Even when Wakefield made some inroads through Rooney's penalty, they surrendered the initiative immediately when Ben Jeffries knocked on from the kick-off and, just before half-time, they were opened up again for Swann to claim his second.

Wakefield began the second half as well as they had the first, drawing level with two quick tries. The first came from Colum Halpenny out-jumping Chris Bridge for Rooney's kick and the second from Sam Obst. The visitors then regained the lead, Grose stopping Rob Spicer on the line but Jeffries following up.

It was time for Wood to stage one of his late shows, squaring it up again when he reached a Briers kick that had seemed destined to run dead. Briers kicked Wolves ahead with a penalty after Jeffries obstructed Briers then, with five minutes to play, Wood clinched it selling a dummy to a tiring defence for the decisive score.

Warrington: Grose; Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Bridge; Briers, N Wood; Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Westwood. Substitutes used: Noone, Mark Gleeson, P Wood, Lima.

Wakefield: M Field; Halpenny, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala; Rooney, Jeffries; Griffin, March, Feather, J Field, Snitch, Spicer. Substitutes used: Korkidas, Obst, McGillivray, Elima.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).

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