Wakefield Trinity 6-36 Wigan Warriors: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

After surviving a whirlwind of Wakefield pressure in the first half, Wigan booked their place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals thanks to a strong second-half showing.

The Warriors led 12-6 at the break thanks to some counter-attacking rugby but in the second half they eased passed Wakefield as Jai Field wrapped up a hat-trick.

Highlights:

Counter-attacking Wigan
The first half belonged to Wakefield possession and territory wise especially the first 10 minutes as Trinity mounted pressure off Mason Lino’s and Lee Gaskell’s smart kicking game. But it was the Warriors who struck first showing the counter-attacking potential of their side as they absorbed pressure before Liam Farrell broke from inside his own half teeing up Jai Field for the try. They did something similar later in the half to retake the lead when Ethan Havard scored off good footwork from Thomas Leuluai. But the chance came from great attacking play from Bevan French, Jai Field and the breaking Zak Hardaker.

Murphy’s magic minute
Lewis Murphy had big shoes to fill stepping into Wakefield’s side in place of Tom Johnstone and he was denied an early try when it appeared he’d acrobatically finished in the corner. However, he didn’t let that near miss get to him as he came up with a massive try saving tackle to deny the Warriors shortly after before a minute later producing an acrobatic finish in the corner this time to score and allow Wakefield to level the scores.

French’s friendly reminder
Such is the form of Jai Field who scored a lovely brace today, Bevan French’s return has gone under the radar as he is kept out on the wing with Field shining at fullback. However, if anyone was forgetting his quality, he reminded them of it today. Not only did he help engineer Hardaker’s break which led to Havard’s try, but it was his exceptional break which led to Hardaker’s try which put the game beyond doubt.

Talking Points:

1. Wakefield’s clear potential
Wakefield may have lost today, but Trinity showed their clear potential against one of the top teams in the league. They bossed the game in the first half kicking the Warriors to death on the back of Mason Lino and Lee Gaskell. They also had two tries denied in the first 40 which would have given them a halftime lead. This epitomises their potential as few teams can boss a half of rugby against the Warriors at this moment. If they continue improving and doing what they did so well in the first 40, they’ll win more games than they’ll lose and potentially push for play-off rugby.

2. Warriors the ultimate counter-attacking team
Yes, Wakefield bossed the first 40 against the Warriors but two pieces of superb counter attacking rugby saw them trail at the break. The first was a break from Liam Farrell after heaps off pressure from Trinity as he created a try for Jai Field and the next saw Zak Hardaker break creating the position for Ethan Havard’s try. It shows that doing the basics against Wigan just isn’t enough because at any point they can break and score. A useful tool in knockout rugby as we may see in the semi-final against St Helens.

3. Warriors defence wins it
Even more important than the ability to score from nothing is the ability to keep the opposition at bay when they have all the pressure. It is this tool that wins trophies and is why St Helens have been the best team in the league in recent years but Wigan’s defensive display today shows that they are gunning for Saints’ crown as the league’s sternest defence and if they can reach a similar level to the Champions, then they may be able to take at least one trophy away from the Saints in 2022.

Player Ratings:

Wakefield Trinity
1 Max Jowitt – 6
19 Liam Kay – 6
3 Reece Lyne – 6
30 Corey Hall – 7
27 Lewis Murphy – 8
17 Lee Gaskell – 7
7 Mason Lino – 8
10 Tinirau Arona – 6
9 Liam Hood – 6
12 Kelepi Tanginoa – 6
13 Jay Pitts – 6
11 Matty Ashurst – 6
16 James Batchelor – 6
Substitutes
8 Eddie Battye – 6
14 Jordy Crowther – 6
15 Jai Whitbread – 6
24 Harry Bowes – 6

Wigan Warriors
23 Jai Field – 9
4 Iain Thornley – 6
3 Zak Hardaker – 8
2 Jake Bibby – 7
1 Bevan French – 8
6 Cade Cust – 8
7 Thomas Leuluai – 8
8 Brad Singleton – 7
9 Sam Powell – 7
17 Oliver Partington – 7
12 Liam Farrell – 9
13 John Bateman – 8
14 Morgan Smithies – 7
Substitutes
10 Patrick Mago – 8
19 Ethan Havard – 8
20 Liam Byrne – 6
22 Joe Shorrocks – 7

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