Wakefield Trinity pulled off a remarkable first half comeback to beat the struggling Wigan Warriors 42-30 on a gloomy afternoon at the DW Stadium. Wigan led 20-0 after just 20 minutes, but 36-unanswered Trinity points proved too much for the Warriors.
WIGAN START LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE
This was a huge game for both sides, but more for Wigan, as they were in desperate need for a quick start to this one, and they got just that. After just two minutes, debutant James Worthington was over in the corner following his first touch of the game. It was a real special moment for the young lad, who was the seventh academy product to make his debut this season, an incredible statistic.
Wigan continued their quick-paced start with another try through Lewis Tierney. The full-back was on hand to finish off a great move near the posts. It got better for Wigan in the 14th minute as Liam Marshall jinxed in and out a few times, before diving over for Wigan’s third try in the space of 10 minutes. Wigan led 14-0, and if they had a regular goal kicker, they’d have been even further ahead.
Wigan were in cruise control at this stage, and it looked set to be a comfortable afternoon, as Wakefield seemed way off the pace. Then, in the 19th minute, Thomas Leuluai got in on the act, finishing off from a superb Williams run. Wigan now led 20-0 before the 20-minute mark, and were good for their lead. It was the best possible start for the Warriors, who desperately needed this.
WAKEY COME ALIVE AS WIGAN COLLAPSE
Wakefield hadn’t been in the game, and Wigan hardly had to defend their own line within the first 25 minutes. Trinity would then go on to score two tries in the space of three minutes through Bill Tupou. Both tries where carbon copy of each other, and were real soft ones to concede. Wakefield seemed to be targeting that left-edge of Wigan that included debutant Worthington and Marshall.
Trinity were back in the game, and Wigan heads started to drop. The fans could sense a shift in momentum, and their side were on the wrong end of it. Mason Caton-Brown would get another try back for Trinity in the 34th minute and suddenly, Wakefield where just 20-14 behind. It was so bizarre to see how this game had just flipped on its head, as it seemed so unlikely just 15 minutes prior.
Tupou would complete his hat-trick and the Wakefield comeback in the 36th minute with a superb try that saw him cut inside from the wing, beating a few Wigan players to score under the sticks. The Wigan players looked deflated while Liam Finn was setting up the conversion. Meanwhile, Wakefield and their fans where more astonished than anything else. The hooter went and amazingly, Wakefield led 22-20.
WAKEFIELD TOOK FULL CONTROL
Wigan needed a similar start to the second half, as the one they had in the first. However, it was Wakefield who got off to the best start, continuing their dominance in this game. In the opening 15 minutes, Trinity scored two tries through Danny Kirmond and Liam Finn. Those tries came either side of a penalty goal, which extended their lead to 36-20. It was an unbelievable turnaround, one in which no one saw coming.
Wigan had now shipped 36-unanswered points, at home, for the first time in a long time. What was more shocking, was that no one could really take it away from Wakefield, they were good for the score. Wigan hit back with another James Worthington try. He’d scored a double on his debut, and it’s just a shame that it will now get overlooked following the disappointing result.
Wigan were now 10-points behind at 36-26, with 20 minutes to go, but they never took advantage, and never looked like getting back into the game at any stage. Wakefield were still in control, and Wigan just looked tired, lost for ideas and all-round off the pace. It was in fact Wakefield who got the next all important try through Jacob Miller, as they extended their lead to 42-26 with just under 10-minutes to go.
WAKEFIELD FLYING, WIGAN STRUGGLING
Wigan would score a late consolation through Liam Marshall, but it was too little, too late, as Wakefield ran out 42-30 winners in what was a bizarre game of rugby league. The way it started, it looked set to be a comfortable afternoon for the Warriors, however, the outstanding comeback, merged with the utter collapse of Wigan, made it a great afternoon for Chris Chester’s players.
Wigan are struggling big time. They are now five league games without a win, and in the last three they have bombed winning leads. It’s not good viewing for Wigan fans, and while they know of the injury crisis they’ve been going through, they still expect more from their team. It’s been a real tough season for the Warriors, and it won’t be getting any easier, with five straight away trips coming up in the league.
As for Wakefield, they’re flying at the minute, having won their previous five league games, they’re now up to fourth in the league, one point clear of Hull FC in fifth and four clear of Wigan in sixth. They’re having a tremendous season, and look to be making the top eight with considerable ease. This year’s race for the top four could be the closest in years, and Trinity could be apart of it come the latter end of the Super 8s.
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane:
“Wigan teams should never be giving up a 20-0 lead, no matter what. But no excuses from us. We were beaten by the better team.
“We were a bit out of juice. They are a big team. We came into it a bit lethargic and you just have to try and manage their big bodies.
“We gave a few penalties away and just didn’t make those one-on-one tackles. We fell apart and missed too many one-on-ones. We made some poor defensive errors and put ourselves under pressure.
“James Worthington is a Wigan kid. I only told him he was playing on Sunday and he was very nervous. To score with his first touch was fantastic. He made a couple of defensive errors but took his tries really well.”
Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester:
“For the first 20 minutes, we couldn’t control the ball. We were completing at 50 per cent. Then, from 20 minutes we went 11 sets from 11.
“We were worthy winners. It was a top performance. That Wakefield team 12 months ago would have been done by a cricket score, so I’m really pleased we came back in the game and got a massive result for this club.
“It’s a hard place to come. We have been on the end of some big scores when we’ve played Wigan over the last few years. To come here and show that character really shows how far we’ve come.
“We are not too bothered about the table at the moment. We just want to make sure that we are competing and entertaining every week.”
IN THE SHEDS
Wakefield lost Tinirau Arona in the 28th minute and Jacob Miller in the 75th minute. Both sustained leg injuries and neither returned to the game.
Trinity’s Danny Kirmond was forced to leave the field just before halftime following a head knock. He returned in the second half.
There were no incidents that would cause the RFL to act against.
Wigan Warriors: (20) 30
Tries: Worthington 2, Marshall 2, Tierney, Leuluai
Conversions: Williams 2/4, Marshall 1/2
Wakefield Trinity: (22) 42
Tries: Tupou 3, Caton-Brown, Kirmond, Finn, Miller
Conversions: Finn 6/7
Penalties: Finn 1/1
Wigan Warriors: Tierney; Davies, Isa, Worthington, Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Wells, Farrell, O’Loughlin.
Interchanges: Powell, Tautai, Navarrete, Field.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix; B Tupou, Lyne, Gibson, Caton-Brown; Miller, Finn; A Walker, Wood, Huby, Ashurst, Kirmond, Sio.
Interchanges: Williams, England, Arona, Fifita.
Referee: Chris Campbell
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan
Date/Time: Monday 29th May 2017 – 15:00pm GMT