Warrington Wolves 23-16 Wakefield Trinity: Hosts book Super League play-off berth
Last Updated: 06/09/19 11:06pm
Warrington Wolves survived a brave second-half fightback from Wakefield Trinity to claim a 23-16 victory and secure their place in the Super League play-offs.
The Wolves looked to be well on their way to victory at at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as they led 16-0 at half-time, but a rally from the visitors saw them twice reduce the deficit to just four points.
However, Steve Price's men ended their six-match losing streak in Super League thanks to tries from Daryl Clark, Bryson Goodwin, Ben Currie and Josh Charnley while Stefan Ratchford kicked three goals and Dec Patton added a drop goal.
Wakefield claimed tries through Morgan Escare, Ben Jones-Bishop and Ryan Hampshire and recorded two goals from Danny Brough. However, the defeat means they remain in the relegation battle and now face an all-important showdown at home to London Broncos next week.
Blake Austin returned to the Wolves side after a four-week absence with the ankle injury which forced to him miss the Challenge Cup final win over St Helens, while Chris Hill, Mike Cooper, Patton and Toby King all came back into the side after missing the loss to Salford Red Devils five days after their Wembley heroics.
Wakefield made four changes for the side that lost 24-16 at home to Wigan with Joe Arundel, Jordan Crowther, George King and Titus Gwaze coming into the side for Bill Tupou, Anthony England, James Batchelor and Chris Annakin.
The visitors had given a good account of themselves in the opening exchanges, forcing two dropouts and coping with everything the Wolves were throwing at them.
But after all their early good work they pressed the self-destruct button when, on the last tackle, the ball slipped through Danny Brough's hands and Jacob Millar was forced into a hurried kick which went out on the full, gifting Warrington possession 20 metres from the Trinity line.
The Wolves needed no second invitation as Jason Clark slipped a pass out of the tackle and Lance Todd trophy winner Clark scooted over for the opening try.
And the home side added to their tally five minutes later when again the Wolves hooker was involved as his long pass gave Currie the space to attack the Wakefield line and the second rower powered over in the corner, with Ratchford landing a fine touchline conversion to make it 10-0.
And Warrington's first-half dominance brought more points eight minutes before half-time when some slick handling saw King release Charnley and the winger raced down the touchline to score.
Ratchford booted over his second goal of the half to give the Wolves a 16-0 advantage at half-time.
Wakefield made the perfect start to the second period and shocked their hosts with two tries in the opening seven minutes to give themselves hope of a comeback.
Trinity posted their first points of the game two minutes after the restart when Arundel made a powerful break and on-loan full-back Escare was in support to take his pass and score.
And it got better for the visitors when some enterprising play kept the ball alive and Jones-Bishop skipped through the Wolves defence to touch down. With Brough on target with both conversions, the lead was down to four points at 16-12.
But all the momentum was lost with another error when they lost possession deep inside their own half and the Wolves again took full advantage as Austin and Ratchford combined to send Goodwin in at the corner.
Hampshire crossed to give Trinity hope again as his try made it 20-16 but a Ratchford penalty and a Patton drop goal eased any nerves and saw the Wolves to victory.