THEY AREN’T quite there yet, but Wakefield Trinity are beginning to look like a top-six team.
They were far too good for Betfred Super League’s bottom club Widnes Vikings in the opening game of the Magic Weekend, cruising to a victory which was more comprehensive than the 34-12 scoreline suggests.
Trinity didn’t need to reach the top of their game, but were impressive across the field. Their finishing was clinical, after a couple of early misses and they defended strongly, conceding only two tries.
Wakefield have pace out wide and play an exciting brand of rugby. Scott Grix has been in excellent form since his off-season move from Huddersfield Giants and scored two of their three first-half tries, sandwiching a touchdown from Reece Lyne.
All three came after Widnes had given the ball away. The combination of Lyne and Ben Jones-Bishop on the right-flank is a big attacking threat and the latter also bagged a brace, touching down spectacularly for his first at the start of the second half and then squeezing over with 11 minutes left, following a counter-attack by Matty Ashurst, Grix and Mason Caton-Brown.
Jones-Bishop’s opener came against 12 men after Lloyd White had been sin-binned just before the break for a dangerous tackle on Caton-Brown. Widnes gave a debut to Rangi Chase, who joined them during the week from Castleford Tigers.
He gifted Ashurst a deserved try with a wild pass inside his own 20 late on. Ashurst is an unsung hero for Trinity in what is developing into a strong pack.
David Fifita celebrated his new two-year contract with a powerful performance and was well supported by Craig Huby and hard-working hooker Kyle Wood in particular.
Widnes are bottom of the table for a reason.
They were very poor and contributed to their own downfall by constantly offering Wakefield opportunities near their own line.
They were missing a host of experienced players, but do have some talented youngsters in their squad, which gives them hope for the future.
One of those is winger Ryan Ince, who had a spell on loan at Hunslet before being recalled at the end of last month.
He made a fine tackle on Jones-Bishop after the winger had intercepted Chase’s pass in the first half.
And the 20-year-old scored Widnes’ first try, skipping round Grix from Ed Chamberlain’s flick. Chamberlain converted that and added the extras after Hep Cahill barged over late on.
Trinity are now fifth, with 16 points and two more wins should achieve their initial goal of securing a place in the top-eight and thus securing their top-flight status for 2018.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Caton-Brown, Miller, Finn, England, Wood, Fifita, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Subs Tupou, Batchelor, Huby, Hirst.
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury, Ince, Chamberlain, Runciman, Johnson, Johnstone, Chase, Buchanan, Heremaia, Dudson, Houston, Wilde, Cahill. Subs Manuokafoa, O’Carroll, Gerrard, White.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).