Wakefield 16 Hull KR 54: Wildcats suffer again as Dixon fuels Rovers win

Wakefield's Mickey Sio.
Wakefield's Mickey Sio.
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THE last time Kieran Dixon played for Hull KR was the debacle of April’s Challenge Cup exit at home to part-timers Oldham.

The lively winger has had to bide his time since, in part due to a poor display that day but also after an injury suffered while trying to recapture some form on dual-registration with Newcastle Thunder.

However, the 23-year-old certainly made up for that absence with a hat-trick last night to not only keep Hull KR’s top-eight hopes alive but create unexpected concern for vanquished Wakefield’s hopes of staying in there.

He enjoys playing Trinity; the former London Bronco has now scored eight tries in the last four games between the sides.

Yet, for all Dixon added the finishes in only the Londoner’s fifth Rovers game this term, the basis of this crucial win was undoubtedly the impact of half-backs Terry Campese and Albert Kelly.

Captain Campese, after his plethora of injury problems and just one full 80 minutes in 12 months, was rested for Saturday’s defeat in Perpignan in order to ready himself for last night and the decision paid instant dividends.

The Australian was a class apart as he dictated play, allowing fellow countryman Kelly to flourish, too, as head coach James Webster enjoyed his first return to Belle Vue since resigning as Trinity chief just over 12 months ago.

Rovers remain three points adrift of Widnes in the critical eighth spot but, with three wins from six, are showing potential.

Wakefield, on the other hand, have lost successive games for the first time since Chris Chester –sacked, ironically, by Hull KR just three games into the season – took over in March.

They had won 10 from 11 games under his guidance to rise to sixth before falling 38-8 at Salford but the even greater size of this 10-try defeat, admittedly without captain Danny Kirmond and Ben Jones-Bishop, was alarming. Rovers were 20-0 up in as many minutes.

Trinity, inexplicably, could not cope with a series of crossfield bombs, whether from Kelly or Campese.

Tom Johnstone, recalled after missing the Salford defeat due to a groin injury, spilled Kelly’s first kick which saw Dixon scamper over for his first. Kelly then sent Chris Clarkson charging towards the line and looped around to receive the loose forward’s smart offload for a try himself.

Next, Wakefield’s left-edge failed to deal with Campese’s simple kick, Joe Arundel and Bill Tupou both failing to challenge for the ball. Instead, James Greenwood picked a fine angle to hit Kelly’s pass and surge through.

Webster’s side completed their point-per-minute spree in the next set when Campese darted out of dummy-half down the blindside and sent Dixon scurrying away.

On the winger’s inside – as ever – was Shaun Lunt, the hooker who collected the pass to score his 150th career try.

Wakefield were thankful that Ken Sio, the Rovers kicker, fluffed two of the conversion attempts, or it would have been worse.

Full-back Matty Marsh broke clear as they sought a third consecutive try but, lacking support, he was denied and, at last, Jacob Miller managed to defuse the subsequent Campese bomb.

Trinity finally roused with a response when Scott Anderson sent Matty Ashurst hurtling through a gap for Arundel to feed winger Bill Tupou in the 26th minute but it was only a brief hiatus.

Their defence was hesitant once more when allowing Greenwood to throw a speculative pass on the last tackle that suddenly saw prop Adam Walker in space, fellow prop James Green on hand to cross for their fifth try.

Mickey Sio clawed one back for Trinity before the break, Liam Finn’s kick seeing them trail 
26-10 at the interval, and when Craig Hall, the former Rovers full-back who was dangerous here, crossed in the 47th minute, the visitors could have started shaking at 26-16.

However, Blair and Marsh produced a crucial try-saving tackle on Johnstone and, then, benefitting from a dubious penalty when Wakefield were deemed to have ripped possession from Lunt, Dixon grabbed his second following a slick handling move in the 56th minute.

He completed his treble in the next set, rounding Hall after the excellent Blair broke on halfway, and Rovers never looked back, Greenwood and Kelly each securing their second tries and Blair also collecting one from Campese’s lovely chip.

Ken Sio finished with seven goals from 10 attempts and they host Wigan Warriors next Friday while dejected Wakefield head to Huddersfield Giants a week on Sunday.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Hall; Johnstone, Lyne, Arundel, B Tupou; Miller, Finn; Scruton, M Sio, Simon, A Tupou, Ashurst, Molloy. Substitutes: Anderson, Annakin, Arona, Howarth.

Hull KR: Marsh; K Sio, Clarkson, Thornley, Dixon; Campese, Kelly; Tilse, Lunt, Walker, Blair, Greenwood, Mulhern. Substitutes: Donaldson, Green, Allgood, Boudebza.

Referee: C Kendall (Widnes).