A twenty-six, or more, point win for the Warrington Wolves would put them back to the top of the table, giving Warrington just a couple of hours in the top berth after their win over the Dragons. A loss by more than two points would return Wakefield Trinity to the foot of the table.
Trinity were on a hiding to nothing having lost eight players during the week to self-isolation after a coronavirus scare but they did welcome back free scoring winger Tom Johnstone after six weeks out. The Wigan side was a strong one but coach Lam knew that they were going into the first of three games in nine days.
Wakefield weren’t afraid to take the game to Wigan in the opening exchanges and when Craig Kopczak had the ball stolen by Bevan French on ten minutes, Trinity scored through Jacob Miller brushing aside the challenge of three tacklers to ground on the line. Tony Gigot added the conversion for a deserved 6-0 lead.
As the heavens opened, Trinity doubled their enthusiasm. On sixteen Tinirau Arona took a Jordan Crowther pass to crash over under the sticks and gave Gigot a simple kick for a 12-0 lead. The Warriors stunned by the relentless Wakefield onslaught.
On twenty-five the Warriors struck back with Liam Farrell breaking the line and drawing the full back before passing inside to Jackson Hastings to score behind the posts. Zak Hardaker added the conversion to get Wigan back within six.
The second Wigan try came three minutes later, inevitably it was Bevan French who took a return pass from his winger Joe Burgess to round for a four pointer. Hardaker was again accurate with the boot and the sides were all ties up at 12-12.
Tony Gigot attempted a drop goal on the half time hooter but the kick went wide of the uprights, the sides locked together at the interval.
Despite almost continuous pressure from Trinity at the start of the second half the Warriors defence held firm. Tom Johnstone was denied by a brilliant tackle from Jake Bibby on fifty-one. After absorbing all the pressure, it was Wigan who took the lead on the hour mark when Sam Powell scooted from dummy half and went under the tacklers to ground over the line. Hardaker added the extras for 18-12.
Trinity had a try ruled out for a Johnstone knock-on after sixty-three minutes and Wigan went straight down the other end of the field, Oliver Gildart forcing the ball onto the ground on the line for the fourth Wigan try of the night. Hardaker missed his first kick of the night but Wigan were ten ahead with just over thirteen left on the clock.
French got his second try on sixty-seven to take the game beyond Trinity as he took a Tommy Leuluai no-look pass to go through the line from twenty metres out. Hardaker made it four from five for 28-12, the Trinity dream was over as they slipped back to the bottom of the table.
A brilliant tackle from Bibby prevented a Wakefield try on seventy-two but two minutes later Johnstone did pick up the third try for Trinity, grounding the ball while airborne near the left corner flag. Gigot couldn’t add the extras and it was too late to have any influence on the outcome.
It was a valiant performance from Trinity but their pressure on the Wigan line wasn’t rewarded with a win as Wigan did enough to lift themselves into second spot, just behind Warrington on points difference. Trinity must be eager to put a coronavirus decimated 2020 behind them. Wigan have two monster games ahead, the original derby in midweek and the cup semi-final next weekend.
Wigan Warriors: French (2T), Burgess J, Gildart (T), Hardaker (4G), Bibby, Hastings (T), Leuluai, Flower, Powell (T), Havard, Farrell, Isa, Partington. Subs: Clark, Shorrocks, Smith, Wells.
Wakefield Trinity: Walker A, Johnstone (T), Tupou, Lyne, Jones-Bishop, Miller (T), Gigot (2G), Kopczak, Crowther, Arona (T), Tanginoa, Pitts, Westerman. Subs: Wood K, Ashurst, Green, Tangata
Referee: James Child.
Half Time: 12-12.
Full Time: 28-16.
Venue: Halliwell Jones, Warrington.