Warrington Wolves survived a late fightback from Wakefield as they secured a nervy victory at the Mobile Rocket Stadium and went back to within two points of second-placed Wigan.
The Wolves were quick out of the blocks and scored twice in the opening ten minutes through Stefan Ratchford, who firstly latched onto to a Daryl Clark kick before being on hand to support Josh Charnley, after initially releasing the winger down the touchline with a superb pass.
Harvey Livett converted a penalty to stretch the lead to 14 on the 20 minute mark, before Bryson Goodwin make a wonderful break and kicked downfield to Tom Lineham to race after and expertly touch down.
Tinirau Arona did manage to barge his way over from close range before the interval to make it 20-6, but another Livett penalty goal sent the Wolves into the break with a commanding lead.
Goodwin slotted a two-pointer of his own over to stretch the advantage to three converted tries, but Kyle Wood hit back for Chris Chester’s side with a four pointer, before grabbing a brace shortly after when Charnley made a mess of claiming a high cross-field kick.
Goodwin added a second penalty to make it an eight-point ball game, before Kevin Brown was on-hand to support a break down the left to score what would prove to be the decisive try.
Tom Johnstone was the beneficiary of good hands three minutes from time to make matters interesting, before Pauli Pauli crashed over to set up a grandstand finish. However, the Wolves managed to repel the final attacking endeavours of Wakefield and left Yorkshire with a much-deserved two points.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
WOLVES DO IT THE HARD WAY
It will be a game of contrasting emotions for Wolves head coach Steve Price. On one hand, he saw his side totally control proceedings in the first half and score some wonderful team tries, largely through the ingenuity of Ratchford and Goodwin.
However, the Wolves struggled to contain the hosts in the second half and allowed Trinity to set up a close-fought finish. In addition, Warrington also leaked 14 penalties and finished the game with 12 men after Sitaleki Akauola was sent to the sin-bin in the final stages following a team warning.
Steve Price prides his sides on defence and will want to rectify whatever issues have caused the Wolves to leak over 60 points in a matter of two games.
TRINITY STILL HAVE GOOD CHANCE OF A TOP FOUR FINISH
On the whole, Wakefield can be very proud of how they fought back in the second period. They appeared quite overwhelmed in the opening stages as the visitors started with intent, vigour and devastating execution.
Without such a sluggish opening, the game could’ve been a lot different. The key now is for Chris Chester’s men to not dwell on the game, bounce back at the first opportunity and get ready for next weekend’s clash against lowly Widnes.
Man Of The Match- Stefan Ratchford (Warrington)
Ratchford scored two tries and had a hand in several other good moments for his side. When he enters the attacking line from his full-back spot, it often leads to a four-pointer, and he is arguably one of the most important players for his team right now.
The 29-year old can now embark on England’s historic trip to Denver safe in the knowledge that the Wolves can rest up off the back of a hard-working, well-earned league success.
Tries: Arona, Wood 2, Johnstone, Pauli
Goals: Hampshire 5
Drop Goals: n/a
Tries: Ratchford 2, Lineham, Brown
Goals: Livett 5, Goodwin 3
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Tupou, Lyne, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, Fifita, Randell, England, Pauli, Ashurst, Horo.
Replacements: Wood, Kirmond, Arona, Hirst.
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley, K Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood.
Replacements: Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Akauola, Crosby.