WAKEFIELD TRINITY could be in for a nervous final few weeks of the regular season.
Yesterday’s 32-30 home defeat by Warrington Wolves left Wakefield eight points outside the top-four and only four clear of ninth-placed Catalans Dragons – who they play in two weeks’ time – and Salford Red Devils.
They remain sixth, but there is work still to be done to secure a place in the Super-8s. Trinity will have to be better than they were against a Warrington side who went home with the points thanks to a strong first quarter.
Wakefield trailed 20-0 after 23 minutes and 24-6 early in the second half, but staged a thrilling rally after that and eventually scored five tries to the visitors’ four. None of the three kickers missed and four penalties proved the difference in the end.
Stefan Ratchford’s brace of tries and the first two of three conversions from from Harvey Livett made it 10-0 to the visitors after as many minutes.
Kicks by Kevin Brown and then Daryl Clark created the first, then Warrington’s full-back scored off a one-two with Josh Charnley.
Max Jowitt stood his ground to make a superb one-on-one try-saving tackle after Warrington’s veteran forward Ben Westwood – who began his career at Wakefield – had burst through the middle, but he held on two long and Livett took the two to make it 14-0 at the start of the second quarter.
In the set from the restart, Bryson Goodwin dashed clear on Trinity’s right, kicked ahead – from a long way out – and Tom Lineham ran through to touch the ball down. At that stage Wakefield looked set for a drubbing, but they went on to score five of the game’s final six tries.
Thirteen minutes before the break, Tinirau Arona managed to shove off several defenders to force his way over from acting-half and Ryan Hampshire converted, but a long-range Livett penalty goal sent Warrington in 22-6 ahead at half-time.
Tom Johnstone knocked on from the second half kick-off, Trinity were penalised for holding down and, with Livett off the feld, Goodwin took the two, but then Kyle Wood struck twice in as many minutes, both from kicks.
He took the first, from Hampshire and then pounced again when Charnley spilled a Jacob Miller bomb and with Hampshire adding the extras to both, there were suddenly only six points in it.
Warrington turned down two points when Hampshire tackled Brown too high, but moments later Danny Kirmond was penalised for interference on Ben Murdoch-Masila and this time Goodwin kicked the goal.
Reece Lyne twice went close to narrowing the deficit further, but Murdoch-Masila and Lineham created a try for Brown and when Goodwin tagged on the goal to open a three-score gap it seemed like game over.
But Warrington had Sitaleki Akauola sin-binned following a team warning – though there was another penalty between that and the card – with four minutes left and Wakefield scored late tries through Johnstone and Pauli Pauli, both converted by Hampshire. They could have turned down the second conversion but the final restart came with 21 seconds left and Warrington held out.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Tupou, Lyne, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, Fifita, Randell, England, Pauli, Ashurst, Horo. Subs Wood, Kirmond, Arona, Hirst.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley, K Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood. Subs Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Akauola, Crosby.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).