Warrington Wolves 34 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 16: Honour in defeat for Wildcats
Warrington ran in half a dozen tries to move above neighbours Wigan at the top of the First Utility Super League with a 34-16 victory over Wakefield at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Visiting boss Brian Smith never looked like celebrating a victory over his younger brother and opposite number Tony despite a plucky Friday night show.
The Wolves, after wins over Leeds and Hull KR, led 24-6 at the break and had a star man in Kurt Gidley before he was forced off through injury in the second half.
The former Australia Test international scored his first try for Warrington as well as creating another couple and kicking five goals from six attempts. Ben Currie and Chris Sandow each crossed twice for the Wolves with their other try from Kevin Penny, but it was not a five-star display from the hosts, who threw away several other scoring opportunities.
A try apiece from Wakefield’s Craig Hall, Anthony Tupou and Jonny Molloy – as Liam Finn added the extras – proved not enough.
The visitors welcomed back skipper Nick Scruton, who replaced Bill Tupou in the starting line-up, with a return to Warrington for his fellow prop Anthony England.
Wakefield were forced to make a late change with Ben Jones-Bishop injured in the warm-up and Jason Walton taking over.
Wolves’ Ben Westwood was sidelined against his former club following an ankle operation with Currie moving back into the forwards, while former Trinity centre Ryan Atkins was promoted from the bench with French youngster Benjamin Jullien called into the squad.
The Wolves could not have made a better start with Currie pouncing onto a loose ball after only 80 seconds to race 80 metres and score with Gidley tagging on the conversion.
Wakefield fell further behind after 10 minutes when Sandow and Atkins combined smartly for Penny to dart over in the corner with Gidley booting the touchline conversion.
But the Wildcats were determined not to lie down and concede defeat as Jacob Miller took a return pass from Matty Ashurst and sent Hall in for a well-worked try with Finn’s conversion cutting the gap.
The away side caused Warrington a few problems after their shaky start until Gidley took Sandow’s short pass to blast over for his first try for the club since his arrival from Newcastle Knights.
It was not a fluent first-half display by Warrington who were sloppy in possession at times but Sandow scored a superb individual effort just before the break when he collected his own neat chip to stretch the lead to 24-6.
Wakefield were rewarded for their endeavours early in the second half with a try from sub Tupou, converted by Finn.
But a touch of class from Gidley set up a walk-in try for Sandow after he burst through the vistors’ stunned defence to make it 28-12 after 54 minutes.
Gidley missed his first kick for Warrington after 13 successes from as many attempts before it was followed up by the ever-alert Currie for his second try before the Australian went off injured.
Warrington should have added another try but Atkins dropped a pass with the line open after a tremendous Sandow break. Finn went close twice for Wakefield, who never gave up, but was kept out by an impressive Warrington defence before Molloy crossed over to reduce the deficit with two minutes remaining.
Warrington: Russell, Penny, R. Evans, Atkins, Lineham, Gidley, Sandow, Hill, Clark, Sims, Currie, Hughes, Westerman. Subs: Replacements: Dwyer, G. King, Jullien, Cox.
Wakefield: Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Hall, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Scruton, Howarth, England, Molloy, Ashurst, Simon. Subs: Sio, A. Tupou, Arona, Annakin.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL)