Round seven takes us to the quarter season mark as all our sides look to push for places at the top of the table, or fight to get away from the strugglers at the bottom.
First up was a Thursday night fixture between Wakefield Trinity and the Warrington Wolves with the home side looking for a win to celebrate the news that they have secured the freehold of their ground and that they can now push ahead with their plans to modernise.
Fifth placed Wakefield went into the game four points adrift of a Warrington side who needed the two points, and a big points win, to jump ahead of St Helens to the top of the pile. Wakefield were without, amongsth others, a long-term injured Tom Johnstone, while the visitors were without Ben Westwood who picked up a four match ban in the win over Wigan.
It was an easy opener for the Wolves when Toby King rose to pick a Declan Patton kick to the corner from the air and walk two paces to ground. Stefan Ratchford kicked the conversion and the visitors were 6-0 after six minutes.
The second try came just after eight minutes thanks to Josh Charnley leaping for the right corner to take advantage of an obstruction penalty. Charnley finished off a nice cross-field passig move for the four pointer. Ratchford kicked a difficult conversion, sailing his kick between the uprights from the touchline.
On twelve minutes Chris Hill pushed his way over the line from twenty metres after Warren Jowitt lost the ball in his own twenty. Hill took four tacklers over the line with him after hitting the ball at pace. Ratchford added the goal for 18-0. It looked like being a long night for Wakefield.
Just after Warrington had a try truned down for obstruction, Wakefield went downfield with Danny Brough pulling in the defenders before passing to Ryan Hampshire to go over. Brough added the conversion to reduce the arrears to twelve and give the home side a boost of confidence.
Warrington resumed their onslaught on the half hour thanks to Blake Austin taking an inside ball from Ben Currie to go under the sticks. Ratchford made it four from four for 24-6.
The last actoin of the half was a Ratchford penalty goal on the hooter to send Warrington into the sheds with a 26-6 lead, and in total control of the game.
As he’d ended the first half, so he began the second as Ratchford kicked another penalty goal.
On forty-nine Jake Mamo did brilliantly to ground a Currie grubber but the on-field and video referee agree that it was a ‘NO TRY’, Mamo grounding the ball touching the whitewash.
The first try of the second half came on fifty-five when David Fifita crashed over the line from ten metres off a Kyle Wood pass. The defenders went low allowing the big prop to step out of the tackle and make it to the line. Brough added the conversion for 12-28.
But three minutes later a long range passing move from Warrington saw Charnley over in the corner for his second of the night, mainly thanks to an Austin break. Ratchford again converted from the touchline to maintain his perfect kicking record on the night.
Kyle Wood scored a hookers try for Wakefield on sixty-three, going from acting half back on the ten metre line and throwing a dummy before crossing. Brough failed to kick the goal for 16-34, all credit to Wakefield who were not throwing in the towel.
Three minutes later Wood got his second after two kicks from Reece Lyne, a hack forward from the hooker who then chased to collect the ball himself and score under the sticks. Brough added the conversion to get Wakefield back within two converted tries at 22-34 with thirteen minutes remaining.
Kyle Wood was instrumental in setting up Max Jowitt to score in the left corner as they kept the ball alive. Brough kicked brilliantly from the touchline to get his side within six points of their visitors.
On seventy-seven the turnaround was complete when Joe Arundel hit the line at speed to crash over for the sixth Wakefield try of the night. Brough slid his kick across the posts, missing the crucial conversion to leave his side still two points behind.
Ratchford knocked on a high Brough kick inside the last sixty seconds to set up a grandstand finish but the Wolves managed to hold out Trinity until the final hooter for a 34-32 win.
This was a brave fightback by a massively understrength Wakefield who came within a post width of stealing a game which had been in Warringtons pockets for the majority of the eighty minutes. The Wolves took their foot off the gas after dominating the opening forty and almost paid the price as Wakefield took full advantage. A true game of two halves where the only difference between the sides was a single Danny Brough missed kick.
Trinity: Hampshire (T), Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel (T), Jowitt (T), Miller, Brough (4G), Fifita (T), Wood (2T), England, Pauli, Horo, Crowther. Subs: Arona, Hirst, Kopczak, King.
Wolves: Ratchford (7G), Mamo, Atkins, King (T), Charnley (2T), Austin (T), Patton, Hill (T), Clark D, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Philbin. Subs: Murdoch-Masila, Clark J, Tasi, Walker.
Referee: Ben Thaler.