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HALF TIME: Warrington Wolves 14 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 8
WARRINGTON Wolves hold a slender lead at The Halliwell Jones Stadium and look on their way to second place in the Super League table.
Tries from Brett Hodgson, Joel Monaghan and Micky Higham currently keep Wakefield, themselves desperate for a win as they hunt for a play-off spot, at bay.
Seemingly relishing his chance to pull the strings in the halves, Michael Monaghan started to work well off the back some superb work from the forwards down the middle. He played two excellent long passes in the opening stages, the second leading directly to Wolves’ opening try in the eighth minute. Riley’s offload set Wolves free up the right and Monaghan’s pinpoint pass set up a two-on-one one in the corner that allowed Chris Bridge to slip Joel Monaghan over.
Wolves had been in total control up to this point, keeping Wakefield pinned back with some ferocious drives from Chris Hill and Paul Wood and Micky Higham’s probing runs. Wakefield’s kicking game had not been much help either and this constant pressure had allowed Wolves to go close through Higham.
But the dynamic changed on 15 minutes, when a loose Ben Westwood pass was intercepted on the halfway line. Higham had done well to restrict the progress in the immediate aftermath, but Wildcats still pounced to level the scores. Later in the tackle count Tim Smith’s lofted kick beat Chris Riley in the air and Frankie Mariano got the ball down.
Wolves wasted no time in responding, retaking the lead just four minutes later. The ball was whipped right down the line and Brett Hodgson chimed in to sell the Wakefield defence a dummy and burrow over. Stefan Ratchford missed his second kick of the game to give his side an 8-4 advantage.
Having been in total control in the opening stages, Wolves were starting to allow the visitors back into the game in the second quarter. Wood’s knock on set off Wakefield’s best spell of possession after 25 minutes, Trinity Wildcats making the most of a scrum on Wolves’ 10m line and a subsequent penalty to build pressure.
Wolves thought they had done enough to release that pressure when quick thinking from Stefan Ratchford stole possession back from a loose play-the-ball, but Wakefield had other ideas. The home side failed to sufficiently clear the danger with a weak set that ended with Joel Monaghan’s scrambled kick attempt rolling off the pitch, handing Wakefield the green light. Danny Kirmond punished this lapse, crashing through three defenders a few tackles later to level the scores.
Wolves were still the dominant side, though, and would have twice had themselves in decent positions but for Ratchford being penalised while trying to play-the-ball and a forward pass on the left. Luckily Michael Monaghan was still enjoying his time in the middle and it was a piece of magic from the former Manly hooker that opened Wakefield up again. His dummy left Wakefield grasping at thin air as he broke the line, and though his offload could not find Ben Harrison, Higham was on hand to pounce on the loose ball. Ratchford added his first goal of the day to give Wolves a 14-8 half time lead.
Wolves: Brett Hodgson; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Smon Grix, Chris Riley; Stefan Ratchford, Michael Monaghan; Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Ben Westwood, James Laithwaite, Tyrone McCarthy. Subs: Trent Waterhouse, Ben Harrison, Ben Currie, Brad Dwyer.
Wildcats: Richard Mathers; Liam Kay, Reece Lyne, Frankie Mariano, Ben Cockayne; Lee Smith, Tim Smith; Andy Raleigh, Paul Aiton, Kyle Amor, Ali Lauititi, Danny Kirmond, Kyle Trout. Subs: Danny Washbrook, Oliver Wilkes, Bobbie Goulding, Tautai.
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