A Lack of Control?
Referee Joe Cobb was unable to escape the limelight last night as Wakefield slumped Widnes to their sixth straight league defeat. Cobb disallowed a number of tries, while awarding soft, cheap penalties. Not to mention that it took two red cards and three sin bins for the referee to finally get the game under control.
The tie boiled over during the first half, after Patrick Ah Van was sin-binned for a shot that left Ashley Gibson with a dislocated shoulder. Aaron Heremaia and Scott Moore both received red cards shortly after, before Stefan Marsh and Lloyd White were sent for 10 minutes in the bin following further scuffles in the second period.
It almost seemed as if Cobb lacked a sense of game management, choosing to send players off left, right and centre rather than attempting to control the atmosphere on the pitch. You can’t argue that Ah Van’s shot on Gibson merited a card, but perhaps those for Heremaia and Moore, as well as the further two sin bins, could have been avoided if Joe Cobb had given both teams a stern warning prior to the confrontations.
A Bit of Passion… But All in Vain
Despite losing, Widnes can take some positives from the game, especially their improved effort and determination that was amiss during the derby loss to Warrington last week. Charly Runciman, who returned to the side against the Wolves, seemed to have regained more of his match fitness this week after his poor display against Warrington, showing good determination to get over in the corner.
But Denis Betts’ men didn’t have enough to sustain their good periods of attack and defence, losing in the last minute to a Craig Hall try. And it hurt, you could sense it. After the hooter, the Widnes outfit simultaneously dropped to their knees and hung their heads – they had the perfect chance at 16-12 to break their recent run of bad form.
The Chris Chester Effect
Wakefield claimed another win under Chris Chester, in a side that looks transformed under the former Hull KR coach. The victory adds to their impressive recent run, making it five wins from the last six in the league. Wakefield have definitely turned a massive corner under Chester, and seem to be taking huge strides in the right direction after each victory.
The Wildcats are now in seventh, helped by Salford’s six-point deduction following their breach of the salary cap. They are also level with Widnes and only points difference separates the two sides on twelve points.
It could be argued that Widnes and Wakefield are at polar opposites with recent form in mind. Widnes haven’t won in the league since mid-March, losing six on the spin since Good Friday, a run that started with a 28-10 loss to Warrington.
Chris Chester was appointed as the new Wakefield boss just before Widnes won away at Wigan, and ever since, the two sides have experienced vastly different form. The Vikings have only won once in that time, to a League One side, while Wakefield have been inspired by Chester’s appointment, only losing to Hull FC.