WAKEFIELD TRINITY were left to reflect on what might have been after their record-breaking run ended in a 30-18 defeat at Wigan Warriors.
Trinity, who had won their opening four games in Betfred Super League, led twice in the first half, after a brace of tries by winger Ben Jones-Bishop and were two points up at the break.
Jones-Bishop went over twice in the third quarter, when Wakefield were four points adrift, but both times referee Chris Kendall ruled Liam Finn’s pass had been forward.
Had either of those been given it might have been a different story, but two tries in nine minutes soon afterwards ensured it was Wigan’s day.
Though Wakefield had their moments, Wigan – inspired by Sam Tomkins and Joe Burgess – were the better team and deserved their win.
They defended strongly and their finishing, particularly from Burgess who scored a hat-trick, was more clinical.
One positive for Trinity was the return of hooker Tyler Randell. He had not played since suffering a knee injury against Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day, but contributed 50 minutes from the start and a second spell later on and looked sharp.
Trinity’s Jones-Bishop opened the scoring with a diving finish after four minutes, Reece Lyne providing the final pass after Tom Davies had knocked on near his own line from Tomkins’s offload.
Finn couldn’t convert, but took two points from a penalty soon afterwards. Sean O’Loughlin didn’t clear the ruck and so was offside when Randell threw the ball at him in front of the posts 20 metres out.
Wigan’s first two sets in possession ended in a knock on and Davies spilled John Bateman’s pass just short of the line when they finally managed to create an opportunity.
But the dropsies were catching and when Anthony England turned the ball over deep in Trinity’s half Wigan took advantage. Thomas Leuluai went down the short-side from acting-half and Liam Farrell was on hand to send Burgess over for an unconverted try.
Wigan went ahead when Taulima Tautai – the former Wakefield man making his 100th appearance for Warriors – crashed over from Tomkins’s pass and Morgan Escare added the extras.
Jones-Bishop was unlucky not to have been named in the England Knights squad last week and he completed his brace soon afterwards. He finished a clever move on the final tackle, Finn handling before Lyne – who is in contention for England’s second string – provided the final pass.
That levelled the scores and Finn booted Wakefield into an interval lead with his angled conversion.
Trinity came away with nothing from back-to-back penalties at the start of the second half, before the situation was reversed and Wigan showed a greater cutting edge to go back in front, Burgess strolling over at the corner from Williams’s pass and Tomkins adding a touchline conversion .
That was on 47 minutes. Just three later Jones-Bishop got over the line for a third time, but referee Chris Kendall ruled Finn’s looping pass was forward.
The same thing happened moments later and those decisions proved pivotal as Wigan extended their advantage just before the hour, Davies squeezing over at the corner following a knock-on by Lyne near Wakefield’s line.
Burgess completed his hat-trick and Tomkins’s goal made it 28-12 with 17 minutes left.
Wigan prop Tony Clubb was penalised for a tackle on Jacob Miller and to compound Wakefield’s misery, Finn went over following the penalty, but was pulled back for an obstruction.
Tinirau Arona did score a consolation try six minutes from the end, from a Craig Huby offload. Finn converted, but Wigan completed the scoring through a Tomkins penalty goal.
That came in the set after after Escare had a touchdown ruled out for offside, but Trinity failed to find touch with their subsequent kick.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins, Davies, Bateman, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Powell, Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Isa, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Substitutes: Sutton, Tautai, Navarrete, Escare.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, England, Wood, Fifita, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Substitutes: Huby, Randell, Horo, Hirst.
Referee: C Kendall (Huddersfield).