Rugby League: Wakefield lose five to sin-bin

Wigan Warriors 40 Wakefield Trinity 14
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The Independent Online
REFEREE NICK ODDY stole the show, or at least most of its participants, by sending an unprecedented five Trinity players to the sin-bin, four of them at the same time.

A Wakefield side already depleted by injuries was reduced temporarily to nine men midway through the second half as the yellow card went in and out of the pocket with dizzying rapidity. "It became a little bit farcical", said the Wakefield coach, Andy Kelly, choosing his words carefully. "It's a difficult task here at any time, but to be reduced to nine men makes it almost impossible. But it's not fair for me to criticise Nick until I've had a good look at the tape."

Oddy warmed up slowly, dismissing only Glen Tomlinson for a holding- down offence in the first half. In his absence, on either side of half- time, Trinity enjoyed their best and gutsiest period of the match, scoring tries through Alfred Songaro and Paul March to bring them to within four points of Wigan.

There was no way of compensating for the absence of players en masse, which began with the departure of Willie Poching for a late challenge on Kris Radlinski.

Andy Fisher completed a Trinity of sinners when he went for deliberate offside and Oddy then went into overdrive, sidelining Paul March for holding down and Tony Kemp for dissent.

Under the circumstances Gary Connolly's second try, against the nine- man defence, was something of a hollow achievement and Wigan raced away in the final few minutes with further tries from Lee Gilmour and Tony Smith.

It had not been a performance to satisfy their new coach, Andy Goodway. "It was just a non-event, very disappointing," he said.

When they were playing 13 against 13, Wigan had reason to be thankful that Jason Robinson, despite reports to the contrary, has no immediate plans to renounce the game for his religion. Robinson, a committed Christian, showed that his commitment to Wigan also remains as strong as ever with a live-wire display. It was his tackle that knocked the ball free for Connolly's first try and his persistent running at the Wakefield defence that created the position for Phil Jones to claim Wigan's second. And it was his run that started the move from which Andy Farrell celebrated his return from injury before the revolving door on the sin-bin began to whirr.

Robinson grabbed a try from Farrell's long pass in the second half, but this was a match that will be remembered more for the players who were missing.

Wigan Warriors: Radlinski; Robinson, Moore, Connolly, Jones; Florimo, T Smith; Cowie, Clarke, O'Connor, Cassidy, Betts, Farrell. Substitutes used: Haughton, Mestrov, Gilmour, M Smith.

Wakefield Trinity: Crouthers; Songoro, Poching, Hughes, N Law; Kemp, P March; Stephenson, D March, Watene, McDonald, Fisher, Price. Substitutes used: Tomlinson, Jackson, Field, G Law.

Referee: N Oddy (Halifax).

Results and tables, Digest, page 9