Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 18 Warrington Wolves 36: Demetriou bids sad farewell to Belle Vue crowd

IT was not the Belle Vue send-off Wakefield veteran Jason Demetriou had envisaged as his final home game for the Wildcats saw their faint play-off hopes disappear.

The 34-year-old Australian is leaving Wakefield after six years but there was no carnival atmosphere as Matt King's hat-trick saw Warrington keep alive their slim hopes of overhauling leaders Wigan at the top of Super League.

Trailing to two early tries, it looked bleak for John Kear's side, who were clearly suffering a confidence crisis after three consecutive heavy defeats.

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But, Wakefield refused to buckle in the second half to the expected points avalanche and the defiant display will have given Kear optimism as he looks ahead to a squad revamp in the off-season.

Wakefield coach Kear said: "It was scratchy and not the highest quality game but there were signs of improvement for us and signs that things we have worked on were appearing.

"So we do feel that we have taken a step forward and it's important that we continue to support the players in their quest to regain their confidence and their self-belief."

Demetriou was given a guard of honour by his team-mates as he entered the pitch with his family and a standing ovation from the Belle Vue crowd.

The second-row, understood to be in talks with Featherstone Rovers about extending his playing days, has for long been part of the Belle Vue fixtures in Super League.

But any hope of a fairytale ending to his final match at his home ground seemed to be slim against a Warrington side still harbouring hopes of finishing top of Super League.

When Chris Hicks was left standing alone by the corner flag, a cross field kick picked him out and the Wolves were in front in the opening minutes.

Matt King added a second try after 15 minutes after supporting Chris Riley's breakaway, Ben Westwood's failure to convert either effort preventing the visitors from reaching double figures.

There was an obvious gulf in class between the two sides, but Trinity were not over-awed and battled back. Sam Obst squirmed through a tiny gap but was held up on the line.

That inability to take their chances was ruthlessly exposed moments later as King coasted over for a third Wolves try down the left flank.

Westwood must have left his kicking boots at home as he surprisingly missed the conversion attempt for a third time in front of the visiting fans bathed in sunshine at one end of Belle Vue.

But the Wildcats finally broke Warrington's mean defence and it owed as much to Damien Blanch's pace as the guile of Paul Cooke.

The stand-off's deft kick through looked to be running dead until Blanch nipped in to snatch the ball and crash over. Cooke dragged his conversion attempt wide as Wakefield trailed 12-4 after half an hour.

Westwood finally broke his kicking duck when he bettered Riley's 32nd-minute try as once again the woeful Wakefield defence was found wanting.

But the hosts finished the first half with the best try of the game so far. Glen Morrison and Paul King combined to put in Ben Jeffries, although the Trinity scrum-half still had plenty to do.

But a superb body swerve bamboozled the Warrington defence and he outpaced Riley to the line, before adding the conversion for an 18-10 interval scoreline.

Matty Blythe and Matt King ran in tries straight after the break, Westwood's conversions giving the scoreline a truer reflection of the game at 30-10.

Wakefield were obviously bereft of confidence, the play-offs now just a distant memory, but led by Demetriou's never-say-die spirit they refused to throw in the towel against a Warrington team Wembley-bound.

Julien Rinaldi provided some much-needed spark to drive Wakefield forward, before Jeffries's kick just failed to pick out the leaping Blanch.

But their efforts were finally rewarded and once again it was the Frenchman Rinaldi who was a key player. He tunneled towards the line, before the ball was thrown wide and Morrison powered his way over for a deserved try. Jeffries missed the conversion.

Any pressure Wakefield were building was relieved with 20 minutes remaining when Sam Obst's ambitious pass was intercepted by Lee Briers who raced away to score between the posts.

His lung-bursting run had him catching his breath before he added the conversion to stretch the visitors' advantage to 36-14.

Jeffries created a try for another player on his way out of Belle Vue, Tevita Leo-Latu, to the delight of the 5,562 crowd which included club guest Howard Webb – the Rotherham football referee who was in charge of this summer's World Cup final – but the scrum-half was unable to add the conversion.

"It was important for us to win after Saints won on Friday and we did it in second gear to be fair," said Wolves assistant coach James Lowes.

"We stepped up when we needed to and came through with no injuries, but we have performed a lot better over recent weeks. It was a professional job but there is certainly a lot more in the tank."

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Murphy, Kirmond, Johnson, Millard, Blanch, Cooke, Jeffries, Leaeno, Obst, Korkidas, Demetriou, Morrison, Leo-Latu. Substitutes: Henderson, P King, Moore, Rinaldi.

Warrington Wolves: Riley, Hicks, Blythe, Atkins, M King, Briers, Myler, Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison. Substitutes: Wood, Higham, Cooper, V Anderson.

Referee: B Thaler (RFL).