Wakefield 14-6 Wigan: Warriors suffer third straight defeat

Lee Kershaw (27) of Wakefield Trinity catches the high-ball

Wakefield handed a weakened Wigan their third Super League loss in a row after a strong first-half showing helped them to a 14-6 victory at the Mobile Rocket Stadium.

First-half tries from Ryan Hampshire and Matty Ashurst put Trinity up 12-0 at half-time and, although Umyla Hanley scored in the second half for Wigan, it was not enough to stop Wakefield recording their fourth victory of the season.

Both teams were hit hard by injuries and representative call-ups, with Wakefield’s Joe Westerman and Reece Lyne on England duty, Kelepi Tanginoa and Liam Kay with the Combined Nations All Stars, and Bill Tupou injured.

Wigan were without 10 first-choice squad members, with the likes of John Bateman, Liam Farrell and Jackson Hastings all on representative duty, while Zak Hardaker, Tony Clubb and Brad Singleton were suspended.

Hooker Brad O’Neill made his debut for the Warriors from the bench, with rare starts given to youngsters James McDonnell and Kai Pearce-Paul.

It was Wigan who began the match stronger, Thomas Leuluai forcing his way over the line after seven minutes only to be held up.

On the back of several penalties the visitors continued to build pressure on Trinity’s try-line, but Wakefield were up to the task and repelled set after set with impressive defence.

It was the home team who broke the deadlock in the 16th minute through Hampshire.

Tom Johnstone returned a kick and made a break down the left flank, finding the half-back in support for the try. Mason Lino’s successful conversion gave Trinity an early 6-0 lead.

Errors from the Warriors ensured Wakefield remained in their opponents’ half and enjoyed good field position.

Wigan looked to respond and in the 26th minute Leuluai was again held up trying to score.

But Trinity’s defence held firm and the Warriors struggled to keep hold of the ball.

Shortly before half-time, Ashurst dived over for his side’s second of the night after a kick caused havoc in the visitors’ line.

Lino nailed the conversion to make it 12-0 at the break.

In the second half it was Wakefield who continued their momentum, Hampshire forcing an early goal-line drop-out.

Clear-cut attacking opportunities were rare with both teams finding it hard at times to keep possession in the slippery conditions.

In the 51st minute, Johnstone was taken off after suffering a leg injury.

The Warriors continued to probe for a response and with 20 minutes left Ethan Havard broke through downfield.

The prop was hauled down metres from the try-line and Trinity scrambled to keep their lead intact.

But on the next set Hanley crossed, after a quick shift to the left wing, to give Wigan hope.

Harry Smith nailed his conversion to make it 12-6 with 18 minutes left.

In the 68th minute, David Fifita was held up over the Warriors’ try-line as Wakefield looked to seal their win.

However, it mattered little as with seven minutes left Lino kicked a penalty goal to make it 14-6 and confirm the victory.

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