Wakefield Trinity 22 Wigan Warriors 46: Better effort but Trinity remain in Super League relegation danger
and live on Freeview channel 276
It was a predictable defeat for Wakefield, but - unlike the 74-10 rout at Salford Red Devils seven days earlier - they did show some fight.
The result, though, left them just four points ahead of Toulouse going into the battle of the bottom two at Newcastle and the French side, who beat Hull KR on Saturday, now have the advantage on for and against.
On a couple of occasions Wigan looked set to blow Trinity away, but they came up with with a positive response to keep the final margin respectable.
Recalled full-back Max Jowitt proved his worth with a couple of tries and Mason Lino created three of the hosts’ four touchdowns, though a yellow card for backchat blotted his copybook.
The game, the last before the main stand at Belle Vue is demolished, was watched by a crowd of 7,046.
Trinity could not have got off to a worse start as Wigan scored at more than a point per minute in the opening quarter of an hour.
The first try came after just three minutes. Wakefield were caught napping by Harry Smith’s 40-20 and, on the last tackle, Kai Pearce-Paul did well to get the ball down from Beven French’s pass.
Jowitt and Lino managed to keep Smith out and Liam Byrne was held up over the line before Pearce-Paul’s pass put Liam Marshall over.
Wigan’s third try came in the next set as Smith and French linked superbly to put Liam Farrell over and Smith’s third goal made it 18-0 after 15 minutes.
It took Wakefield 19 minutes to get into Wigan’s half and that came via a penalty for offside. They scored from it, Jowitt dipping a shoulder and cutting through for a fine individual touchdown which Lino improved.
Trinity were in again just six minutes later, through Jay Pitts who reacted quickly to get the ball down from Lino’s low kick behind the line.
The scrum-half added the extras and suddenly the gap was down to just six points, but some magic from French turned the tide soon afterwards, the full-back weaving through the defence for a brilliant solo try.
Three minutes before the interval Lino was sin-binned for dissent after a penalty against Trinity for stealing the ball close to the hosts’ line.
In the next set, Jai Field and French shipped the ball wide for Abbas Miski to score an unconverted try at the corner.
At 28-12, Wakefield were hanging in the game by their fingertips, but it had slipped away from them within seven minutes of the resumption.
Only four minutes into the second period, Miski dived over for his second from Field’s pass and then the defence hesitated following a kick over the top and French went in for his second.
Smith improved both and Wakefield were 40-12 behind and on the verge of another drubbing. To their credit, the hosts dug in, put Wigan under pressure at times - big Dave Fifita almost scoring from a chip and chase - and then ran in back-to-back tries to make the scoreline more respectable.
The first was a memorable moment for Welsh winger Kyle Evans, a former Doncaster Knights rugby union player who had a trial at Leeds Rhinos two years ago before Covid wrecked his hopes of a deal there.
He earned a Wakefield contract after impressing in the reserves and marked his debut with a try from Lion’s clever kick.
That was converted, Wigan’s restart went out on the full and, in the resulting set, Lino picked out Jowitt with a nice pass and he scooted over for a four-pointer.
Wigan, though, had the last word, Pearce-Paul going over two minutes from time and Smith completing the scoring with his seventh goal.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Evans, Croft, Hall, Murphy, Miller, Lino, Whitbread, Hood, Arona, Ashurst, Pitts, Batchelor. Subs Crowther, Fifita, Tanginoa, Butler.
Wigan Warriors: French, Miski, Isa, Pearce-Paul, Marshall, Smith, Field, Singleton, Powell, Byrne, Farrell, Bateman, Shorrocks. Subs Bibby,Mago, Partington, Harvard.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).