Wakefield Trinity claimed a vital two points in their bid for a top eight finish with a 32-16 victory over Wigan Warriors at the Mobile Rocket Stadium.
The defeat is Wigan’s third in as many games as Shaun Wane’s swansong season looks to be set for a difficult end.
Ben Jones-Bishop opened the scoring, capitalising on a forward pass from the Wigan Warriors. Max Jowitt showed his class with a cut-out pass to give Trinity’s top scorer the opportunity to finish.
Thomas Leuluai earned himself a yellow card for a late shoulder charge on Justin Horo, with Trinity taking full advantage, as Bill Tupou scooted over either side of Ryan Hampshire penalty goals.
It took until Leuluai’s return for Wigan to cross, a switch in play from Sean O’Loughlin brought Gabriel Hamlin charging onto the ball and over the line and make it 14-6 at the break.
Having often won games on second-half performances alone, Wigan came out all guns blazing after the break. However, a loose O’Loughlin pass found Jones-Bishop who raced 90 metres to score.
Not to be outdone by his fellow winger, Tom Johnstone pounced on a Wigan error to launch himself over in the corner, Hampshire missed the conversion yet redeemed himself minutes later with another penalty.
Wigan threatened a late comeback as Tom Davies produced a lightning individual try before Morgan Escare stretched over to bring the scores within 10 points.
This late charge would come in vain, however, as the impressive Pauli Pauli barged over with three minutes to go to secure the two points for Wakefield.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Crisis? What Crisis
Just weeks ago, mutterings of a crisis amongst the Wakefield Camp were growing louder and louder; nowadays they seem a distant cry.
With two wins in a row and three home fixtures in their next four games, Wakefield’s late charge to secure a top eight finish is well underway.
Led by the towering figures of Pauli Pauli and David Fifita, organised by Jacob Miller and striking through Ben Jones-Bishop and Tom Johnstone, no one will be counting out Wakefield Trinity.
Wigan lacking creativity
Wigan have built their success over the years on tough defence and an ability to strike when it matters; however, as teams such as Castleford and St Helens have shown, attack wins games.
With one of the best half-backs in the league in George Williams, Wigan should be playing quick attacking football. However, with the ball-finding Liam Farrell receiving the ball on the last tackle on numerous occasions, this isn’t the case.
As Sam Tomkins moves on, it could be in Wigan’s best interest to find someone to partner Williams and set alight the Wigan attack.
Man Of The Match- Ben Jones-Bishop (Wakefield)
Wakefield’s top scorer this season showed his talent throughout the match, not just with his tidy finish and intercept try, his kick returns and dominance in the air stifled the Wigan attack.
David Fifita and Ryan Hampshire also put up big claims for the award however, Jones-Bishop just edged out his teammates with crucial moments in the match going his favour.
Tries: Jones-Bishop 2, Johnstone, Pauli, Tupou
Goals: Hampshire 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Tries: Hamlin, Davies, Escare
Goals: Tomkins 2
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield: Arona, Ashurst, Batchelor, Caton-Brown, England, Fifita, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tupou, Wood.
Wigan: Bateman, Clubb, Davies, Escare, Farrell, Flower, Gildart, Hamlin, Isa, Leuluai, Mullen, Navarette, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sarginson, Tautai, S Tomkins, Williams, Woods.
Referee: James Child