Not for the first time this season Wakefield Trinity Wildcats gave one of Super League’s big guns a fright, without being quite good enough to claim the spoils.
Wakefield staged two thrilling rallies against Warrington Wolves, hitting back from 24-6 and 40-22 down, but silly errors proved costly as the visitors held on to win 41-34.
Brett Hodgson’s 76th-minute drop goal put the game beyond Wakefield, after Paul Sykes had got the hosts to within a converted try only to let Warrington off the hook by failing to find touch with a penalty.
The game might have been beyond Wildcats by half-time if Ryan Atkins had not fumbled on the line as he attempted to touch down for his hat-trick on 28 minutes, when Warrington led 24-6.
Wakefield – playing against the strong wind – had barely any field position in Warrington territory up to then but two Peter Fox tries in four minutes got them right back into the contest.
He finished well at the corner after Tim Smith, Lee Smith and Dean Collis had handled, then Reece Lyne retrieved a bouncing ball and Fox did the rest, out-pacing the cover with blistering pace from close to half-way.
Warrington’s Trent Waterhouse denied Paul Aiton and Danny Kirmond with stunning try-saving tackles before Aiton and Ali Lauitiiti worked the ball to Reece Lyne and he stormed over.
Sykes’ third conversion cut Wolves’ lead to two points with 25 minutes left, but Warrington struck back on their first attack of the half when Joel Monaghan finished off slick work by Hodgson for an unconverted try.
Kyle Amor – who otherwise had a strong game – knocked-on first tackle from a penalty and in the next set Stefan Ratchford weaved his way over, then his break carved out a try for Richie Myler in the next set, Hodgson converting both.
Wakefield seemed dead and buried, but Kyle Wood crossed with nine minutes to go and almost immediately Sykes touched down and booted his fifth goal, but his penalty blunder straight afterwards proved the game-breaker. Such a close contest didn’t seem likely as Atkins tormented his former club in the opening stages, crossing after 70 seconds and again on 19 minutes.
Ratchford crossed to make it 12-0 after as many minutes.
A show and go by Sykes took him over for Wakefield’s opener on 15, but it was all Warrington for a spell after that as centre Atkins notched his second and winger Joel Monaghan also crossed, full-back Brett Hodgson converting all four of the first- half tries.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: L Smith, Fox, Collis, Lyne, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Raleigh, Aiton, Wilkes, Mellars, Kirmond, Washbrook. Subs (all used): Lauitiiti, Wood, Amor, Annakin.
Warrington Wolves: Hodgson, Riley, Atkins, Grix, J Monaghan, Ratchford, Myler, Cooper, Higham, Hill, Waterhouse, Westwood, Currie. Subs (all used) M Monaghan, Harrison, Wood, Carvell.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).