THE wrangling may be continuing off the pitch but on it, at least, life is smooth for ever-improving Wakefield Trinity.
Chris Chester’s side chalked up a fifth win from sixth games last night as they eventually proved too powerful and clinical for hapless Widnes Vikings.
With winger Tom Johnstone in fine fettle, scoring a sixth try in his last four games and creating another two, there was plenty to like about this performance.
The West Yorkshire club move up to fifth and will head to leaders Castleford Tigers enthused on Good Friday for what promises to be an intriguing derby encounter.
Granted, Wakefield District Community Trust and Wakefield Council remain at war with each other about the failure to so far deliver a stadium for the city, district and their Super League club.
But, it would be foolish for them all not to finally put their differences aside and come to a satisfactory conclusion in the near future to help ensure this great club has a future.
There will not be many games left at Belle Vue – Trinity insist they must play elsewhere in 2018 given its decaying state – but they certainly look like going out in style.
Having won impressively in Perpignan last week, Wakefield started brightly enough last night, too, capitalising in the third minute when Widnes full-back Rhys Hanbury made the cardinal sin of letting a ball bounce only to see it tumble back towards his own goalline.
Energised Trinity defenders then pushed him back over that goalline and, from the drop-out, a lovely cut-out pass from Liam Finn saw hulking centre Bill Tupou swat off some feeble defence and power over.
Wakefield extended their lead when Finn once more flighted a ball to the left, this time full-back Scott Grix coming into the line to swiftly flick on to Johnstone who glided over untouched in the corner.
Sam Williams failed with both conversion attempts, though, and Widnes finally clicked almost immediately when a penalty saw them advance and Tom Gilmore’s well-judged grubber kick was slid through for winger Corey Thompson to score as Johnstone turned and scrambled.
That signalled a period of real pressure for the visitors, though, who probed away at Wakefield and, with a little more finesse, could have added to their solitary score. But the home side were well-organised and resolute in defence, eventually rewarded for their steeliness when escaping long enough to launch another attack of their own.
Johnstone rose brilliantly to take Miller’s high kick in the 32nd minute and, while many of the 4,214 crowd thought he came back down to score, he was actually short. Nevertheless, still alive to the prospect of a try, he got his arms free from some half-hearted Widnes defence to find Dean Hadley on his shoulder, the on-loan Hull FC player scoring with ease.
Remarkably, even though the try was just to the left of the posts, Williams missed yet again.
At that point, there was fears it could prove costly.
Indeed, although at the start of the second period it was Wakefield who applied the pressure, time after time they initially wasted good attacking opportunities with poor options.
Captain Danny Kirmond had the best chance when he burst through only to see Matt Whitley’s great tackle deny him.
However, they finally got the game-clinching try in the 50th minute, Grix unleashing Johnstone just inside his own half and the winger advancing before finding the former Huddersfield Giants star in support.
Finn, understandably, took over goalkicking duties and immediately converted for an 18-4 advantage.
When Tupou obliterated Hanbury with a crunching tackle soon after, the Widnes full-back spilling after a rare venture into Wakefield’s end, you sensed their hopes of a revival disappeared into the turf with him.
And so it played out. Fifita charged close and produced a quality off-load to find Hadley – who has extended his loan by a further month this week – charging over for his second in the 57th minute. Soon after, Craig Huby joined in the fun, making the most of some feeble defence as the former Castleford prop muscled over from close range, Finn improving both times.
There would be no way back for Widnes who had earned their first win of the season last week but remain under intense pressure after a sixth defeat.
No such problems for Wakefield, on the field at least.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix; Jones-Bishop, Arundel, Tupou, T Johnstone; Williams, Finn; Allgood, Wood, Fifita, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Subs: Miller, Huby, Hadley, Hirst.
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Thompson, Bridge, Runciman, Armstrong; Craven, Gilmore; Dudson, J Johnstone, J Chapelhow, Olbison, Whitley, Houston. Subs: Mellor, Gerrard, Manuokafoa, E Chapelhow.
Referee: Chris Kendal (Huddersfield)