On Thursday night, Wigan Warriors welcomed Wakefield Trinity to the DW Stadium as they aimed to put pressure on St. Helens in the race for the League Leaders Shield.
Before the game kicked off there was a minutes silence for Adam Sarginson, the brother of Wigan centre Dan, who sadly passed away over the weekend.
Sarginson was included in the squad for this fixture in what was to be an emotional game for him.
The Warriors were the first team to score as Oliver Gildart flew into the corner after collecting a flat pass from Sam Tomkins. Tomkins failed with the conversion to make it an early 4-0 lead for the home side.
Tom Davies was forced to tap the ball over his dead ball line and Wakefield were gifted a repeat set. Wakefield knocked the ball on though, and the pressure on the Warriors line was over.
The 10 minutes since the opening try were scoreless but did flow back and forth with both sides completing their sets well.
A John Bateman knock-on gave Wakefield the chance to attack the Wigan line from 40 metres out but they had to settle with keeping the Warriors on their own 10 metres.
Back-to-back penalties to Wigan meant they were given great field position and after powerful runs from Joe Greenwood and Ryan Sutton, Sam Powell picked the ball up from dummy-half, and span out of the tackle to ground the ball for a second Warriors try. Sam Tomkins slotted the conversion make it a 10-0 lead to Wigan.
Wakefield were trying to play free-flowing rugby but their hands were letting them down, but their strong defence was keeping them in touch with Wigan.
Trinity were offloading in most tackles and a loose offload from Tinirau Arona was knocked on by a Wigan defender gave Wakefield a fresh set just five metres out but more poor hands from Trinity let Wigan off.
Matty Ashurst was cruelly sin-binned after an accidental crusher tackle on Gabriel Hamlin, but Wigan reset just 40 metres out against the 12-man Wakefield side.
Tom Johnstone made sure that Wigan couldn’t extend their lead however, after he picked off a Thomas Leuluai pass to run 80 metres and close the gap. Ryan Hampshire converted to make it 10-6 after 35 minutes.
After some dissent from Wigan, Ben Thaler turned a scrum into a penalty and Wakefield chose to run the ball, it came to nothing however and in hindsight they would have wished they’d taken the two points.
Before the half was out, Tomkins slotted a drop-goal to make it a five point lead for the Warriors at the break.
Half-time: Wigan Warriors 11-6 Wakefield Trinity
An early penalty to Wakefield allowed them to start a fresh set of six just inside the Wigan half.
However, the attempt came to nothing after a loose carry from Pauli Pauli.
Chris Annakin and Ryan Sutton were having a really good upfront battle. Annakin was looking to come out on top but conceded two back-to-back penalties in the process including a high tackle on Hamlin.
Sam Tomkins took the two points on offer to make it a 13-6 lead to the home side.
Wakefield were in the ascendancy and forced a goal-line drop out by trapping Oliver Gildart in his dead-ball area but a Johnstone knock-on allowed Wigan to regain the ball on the half-way line.
The Warriors were struggling to keep up with Wakefield in the second-half and they cut the lead to just three after Bill Tupou crashed over the Wigan line, with Gildart and Davies on his back. It all came from a Wigan knock-on. Hampshire failed with the conversion to leave it 13-10 to Wigan after 56 minutes.
Back-to-back repeat sets to Wigan soon followed as they barraged the Wakefield line but solid defence from Chris Chester’s side stopped the Warriors charge.
However, after an Annakin knock-on and a Scott Grix penalty allowed Wigan to press forward again. A yellow card was also presented to Grix as he lifted Joe Greenwood’s legs above the horizontal and failed to put him to ground safely.
The 12-men Trinity side managed to hold-on again however after Sarginson’s pass to Morgan Escare drifted forward.
Wakefield couldn’t hold Wigan off for long though as Morgan Escare was the first player to collect a George Williams grubber kick to extend the Warriors lead. Tomkins converted from out wide and made it 19-10 to Wigan with just 11 minutes remaining.
The game started to open up even more in the last ten minutes and Joe Batchelor saved what looked like another Wigan try as he outpaced Williams to dive on a loose ball.
Trinity were then straight back up the other end of the field as they chased the game. However, poor hands from Wakefield once again let Wigan off the hook.
Wigan made Wakefield pay for their missed chances and scored once more as a good offload from Lealaui caught Wakefield off guard and Joe Greenwood powered over the top of Pauli Pauli and two other Trinity defenders and dot down. Tomkins added the extras as Wigan stretched the lead to 15 points with just a minute and a half remaining.
That was the end of the scoring on the night despite Wakefield collecting their own kick-off as they searched for a consolation.
Wakefield’s discipline ultimately let them down on the night as the 12-4 penalty count in Wigan’s favour was the difference between the two sides.
Wigan kept the pressure on Saints and meant that they can;t lift the League Leaders Shield, even if they do beat Catalans on Saturday afternoon.
Full-time: Wigan Warriors 25-10 Wakefield Trinity
Sky Man of the Match: Tyler Randell – The Wakefield hooker was extremely good in defence against a large Wigan pack and was one of the main creators in attack for the away side.
My Man of the Match: Ryan Sutton – The Wigan prop was the winner in his one-on-one battle with Chris Annakin and his hard running and solid defence was crucial for the Warriors as they struggled to contain some of the Wakefield players.
Tomkins, Davies, Isa, Sarginson, Gildart, Williams, Lealuai, Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Bateman, Greenwood, O’Loughlin.
Subs: Clubb, Escare, Sutton, Hamlin.
Tries: Gildart,Powell, Escare, Greenwood
Goals: Tomkins (4/5)
Grix, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, Arona, Randell, Huby, Batchelor, Ashurst, Crowther.
Subs: Pauli, Arundel, Hirst, Annakin.
Tries: Johnstone, Tupou
Goals: Hampshire (1/2)
Featured Image: Betfred