THEY SUFFERED a fourth successive defeat, but Wakefield Trinity Wildcats could take some positives from their Belle Vue clash with Warrington Wolves in the Super-8s.
Wakefield made more of a game of it than the 38-10 scoreline suggests, though it was a poor-quality encounter, watched by a crowd of less than 4,000.
It was always going to be tough for Trinity, who fielded a weaker team than the one thrashed 56-12 by Warrington in the Challenge Cup semi-final 15 days earlier.
They were without 11 players due to injury, including eight who had played in May’s 36-28 home win over Warrington.
Scott Moore pulled out on the morning of the game, due to a hamstring problem, so Max Jowitt – who had originally been left out – was on the bench and they warmed up without an 18th man.
The big plus to come out of the late-season injury crisis has been experience gained by some of the club’s top academy prospects.
Second-rower James Batchelor – who played for England in their Test loss to Australia a week earlier – was among the substitutes and became the fourth teenager to make his debut in three league games.
He made a couple of strong carries and did not look out of place.
Wakefield put in a big effort, but were limited to only a handful of scoring opportunities against a Warrington team who seemed to have one eye on their Wembley date with Hull at the end of this month.
As in the Cup semi-final, Wakefield opened the scoring with an early try, Jon Molloy touching down from a low kick by Liam Finn, who also converted.
Wakefield struggled to get out of their own half after that as they made a host of errors. Warrington weren’t much better and their three tries before the break all came off mistakes by the home team.
Judah Mazive’s knock-on led to Ben Currie crossing after 20 minutes and five later David Fifita lost possession, Trinity were penalised twice in succession and Chris Hill rumbled over from close range.
Two minutes before the break Chris Sandow’ kick was fumbled by Jowitt and Ryan Atkins touched down against his former side.
Wakefield attacked Warrington’s line for the opening eight minutes of the second half, with Fifita, Jordan Crowther and Andy Yates all going close and Finn getting over, but being held up.
The siege was lifted when Craig Hall’s pass was intercepted by Matty Russell, who ran 70 metres to score. Kurt Gidley’s third conversion made it 22-6, but Wakefield rallied with a first senior try for Mazive, from an excellent pass by Molloy.
Trinity’s hopes of staging a fightback were ended when Daryl Clark went over from close range. Russell scored a scrappy second and Joe Westerman also crossed, Gidley completing the scoring with his fifth conversion.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Hall, Mazive, Lyne, Arundel, Jones-Bishop, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Sio, Arona, Molloy, Walton, Crowther. Subs Jowitt, Yates, Batchelor, Ffita.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, R Evans, T King, Atkins, Russell, Gidley, Sandow, Hill, Clark, Sims, Hughes, Currie, Westerman. Subs Dwyer, Westwood, G King, Wilde.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).