Wigan 28-16 Wakefield: Warriors break Trinity resolve to keep pace at the top

Oliver Gildart (4) of Wigan Warriors goes over for a try

Wigan eventually broke the resolve of Wakefield to record a 28-16 win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

A gutsy Trinity performance at the end of a week where they revealed they were considering going in to lockdown after losing more players to positive coronavirus tests, pushed Wigan for more than an hour.

Sam Powell went over on the last tackle from dummy half on the hour mark to give the Warriors a second half lead, but it was Bill Tupou’s try chalked off by the video referee moments later that appeared to be the turning point, with Wigan following that with a try from Oliver Gildart that gave the Warriors breathing space.

The return of Jacob Miller appeared to have rejuvenated Wakefield, who had jumped off the foot of the table courtesy of Hull KR’s defeat to Leeds on Thursday night.

In spite of their squad worries, Wakefield fielded a side that included all but four of their 1-17 squad numbers, with Tony Gigot and Kelepi Tanginoa two established first choices outside of that selection.

They took the game to Wigan and Miller’s try gave them an early lead that was doubled when Tinirau Arona crashed over off a nice offload from Jordan Crowther.

Wigan spent a long time on the back foot and struggled to break down a Wakefield side that grew in confidence, much like basement rivals Hull KR had done in similar circumstances against Wigan a few weeks ago.

But two tries in four minutes wiped out the Wakefield lead and levelled the scores at 12-all at half-time. First Jackson Hastings went over following a break by Liam Farrell and then Bevan French found space on the left and played a nice one-two with Joe Burgess and scampered round towards the posts.

Bevan French (6) of Wigan Warriors runs on to score a try

Wakefield peppered the Wigan line in the early stages of the second half, with Gigot’s kicks targeting Jake Bibby in the corner, and Trinity forced three repeat sets.

Even when Wigan were able to pounce on a loose ball dropped by Tanginoa, Oliver Gildart’s break up field was brought to an end when he lost the ball.

Another Gigot kick towards Bibby was claimed by Tom Johnstone, though his offload for Tupou saw the centre wrapped up by desperate defence on the line, and then Bibby continued to keep his door shut by tackling Johnstone in to touch at the corner.

After all that pressure had come to nothing, Wakefield will have been disappointed by the manner of the try that gave Wigan the lead, backed on to their own line, Powell managed to go over from yards out under the posts on the last tackle for a try that was given after a brief inspection by the video referee.

The four minutes that followed saw Tupou denied and then Gildart score, which gave Wigan breathing space at 24-12, and when French burst through on 67 minutes the outcome was all but decided.

They did get the score that their second half efforts deserved late on when Tupou put Johnstone in at the left corner, but it proved mere consolation.

Wigan: French, Bibby, Hardaker, Gildart, Burgess, Leuluai, Hastings, Flower, Powell, Havard, Isa, Farrell, Partington. Subs:  Clark, Shorrocks, Smith, Wells.

Tries: Hastings, French 2, Powell, Gildart. Goals: Hardaker 4

Wakefield: Walker, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Gigot, Kopczak, Crowther, Arona, Pitts, Tanginoa, Westerman. Subs: Wood, Ashurst, Green, Tangata.

Tries: Miller, Arona, Johnstone. Goals: Gigot 2.

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