After a first half dominated by the Wolves, Wakefield fought back to leave a tense ending for the Wolves.
After a turbulent week for Wakefield due to injuries and suspensions to key men, it was them who got off to the worst possible start.
Within four minutes, Toby King was the first Warrington try-scorer of the evening. The Wolves shifted the ball over to the left before Dec Patton kicked over to the right. No Wakefield player contended for the high ball in the air so King jumped up and plonked it over the line.
Then, things went from bad to worse for Wakefield. Two tries within the next eight minutes followed and Warrington looked like they might already be running away with the game. Josh Charnley added his first of the night in the eighth minute before Chris Hill pushed his way over, carrying two Wakefield defenders with him, just four minutes later.
After the first 16 minutes, Wakefield had only had five sets and were at 0% completion. However, things did start to look up for them when Ryan Hampshire strolled in to score after some very dodgy Wolves defence.
Blake Austin was next over the tryline after a great offload from Mike Cooper, with the ball finding its way to Austin, who evaded three defenders to go over. A Stefan Ratchford penalty gave the Wolves a 26-6 lead going into half-time.
After another Ratchford penalty, David Fifita rampaged his way over to give the Wakefield fans a little hope before Charnley grabbed his second of the evening and seventh of the season. This gave Warrington a 34-12 lead.
This is when Wakefield really turned up. A brace from Kyle Wood, who had a stellar performance, in the 63rd and 66th minute meant Wakefield were breathing down Warrington’s neck. Both of Wood’s tries were exceptional but certainly the second could be up for try of the week. Two kicks from Reece Lyne followed by Wood’s chip for himself to collect pulled the score back to 22-34.
Wakefield were not done there. Max Jowitt received a pass from Joe Arundel after a Keegan Hirst offload mid-field before going over for his first try on his first appearance of the season.
Arundel himself bagged the final try of the match after Jacob Miller and Hampshire combined across to the left for him to slide over. With Brough missing the final conversion, the match finished 32-34.
Warrington need some fine-tuning
Despite being one of the best teams this year in attack, their defence in this game was poor in patches. They will not be able to maintain a successful win rate if they let in sloppy tries. If they’d have played like this against a top side, they wouldn’t have come away with the two points.
Wakefield grit and determination
The Trinity side almost thrive on their underdog status. Yes they do not have star quality international players across the park but what they do have is team spirit and character. Sometimes that can win you a game if you can grind out those results. They don’t always have to be pretty wins.
Trinity need Tupou and Johnstone replacements
Warrington were relentless against an inexperienced duo of Max Jowitt and Joe Arundel. Both players are used to being on the fringes so it may take them a while to get used to playing top-level rugby again after making their first appearances of the season in this game. If the rumours are true, we might see a couple of new faces in to replace Johnstone and/or Tupou in the next few days.
Great Britain/England have a plethora of hookers
With the GB tour at the end of the season, coach Wayne Benett will have a tough selection already but the hookers will be making his job a hell of a lot tougher. With James Roby and Josh Hodgson almost certain to get two spots, that elusive third hooker spot is up for grabs. Daryl Clark is a strong choice having already played for England but Kyle Wood would not embarrass himself either after a man-of-the-match performance for me.
Tries: Hampshire, Fifita, Wood 2, Jowitt, Arundel
Goals: Brough 4
Drop Goals: n/a
Tries: King, Charnley 2, Hill, Austin
Goals: Ratchford 7
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield: Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Jowitt, Miller, Brough, Fifita, Wood, England, Pauli, Horo, Crowther.
Interchanges: Arona, King, Kopczak, Hirst.
Warrington: Ratchford, Charnley, King, Atkins, Mamo, Austin, Patton, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Philbin.
Interchanges: J. Clark, Tasi, Murdoch-Masila, Walker.