Wakefield returned to form with an eight-try victory that keeps alive their outside Super League play-off hopes while ending those of rivals Salford.
Australian scrum-half Tim Smith, who is on loan from Salford, was at the heart of the Wildcats’ 42-6 triumph, only their second win in five matches, which keeps them within four points of eighth-placed Widnes with two matches left of the regular season. Smith’s half-back partner Pita Godinet was also influential on his return from a six-week injury lay-off.
Wakefield suffered a blow before kick-off when skipper Danny Kirmond failed a late fitness test on a knee injury sustained in training but they produced a near-perfect opening quarter to take a grip on the game and never looked like relinquishing their hold.
Loose-forward Danny Washbrook did the early damage, breaking clear to send veteran prop Andy Raleigh romping over for his first try for more than 12 months before getting on the end of Smith’s grubber kick to touch down himself.
That made it 10-0 after 14 minutes and it got even better for the home side when right winger Chris Riley collected Paul McShane’s kick to the corner to score a third try, to which Paul Sykes added a second goal.
Salford had showed a glimpse of their attacking flair when New Zealand full-back Kevin Locke got winger Nial Evalds on a dangerous run but it was only after they fell 16-0 behind that they started to exert any pressure on the Wakefield line.
The Wildcats defence proved up to the task, however, with the Red Devils going closest to scoring when hooker Logan Tomkins was held up over the line. Wakefield created the first opening of the second half when impressive forward Taulima Tautai got Sykes into a hole before being pulled back for a forward pass and Salford made the most of the let-off.
Former St Helens favourite Tony Puletua breached the Wakefield line on halfway and second rower Harrison Hansen charged over from 50 metres for his side’s only try, his first since February. Locke’s conversion cut the gap to 10 points but there was no way back for the visitors when centre Dean Collis went over for their fourth try on 55 minutes, which was just reward for their decision to run a penalty from in front of the posts.
Sykes was wide with the conversion attempt but was on target three minutes later when second rower Ali Lauitiiti took McShane’s pass 10 metres from the line and powered his way over for Wakefield’s fifth try. It was all one-way traffic in the final quarter as the Wildcats for the visitors.
Collis produced a superb flick pass for winger Richard Owen to touch down and Godinet was rewarded for his industry when he got his hand to McShane’s grubber kick. A 40-20 kick from Sykes, another impressive performer at full-back, then set up the position for Owen to round off the scoring with his second try a minute from the end.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Sykes, Owen, Collis, Lyne, Riley, Godinet, T Smith, Anderson, McShane, Raleigh, Gilmour, Molloy, Washbrook. Subs: Lauitiiti, Tautai, Wildie, D Smith.
Salford Red Devils: Locke, Johnson, Sa’u, Caton-Brown, Evalds, Chase, Fages, Morley, Lee, Tasi, Hansen, Ashurst, Walne. Subs: Puletua, Dixon, Griffin, Tomkins.
Referee: Robert Hicks.