A HAT-TRICK for Chris Riley against his parent club saw Warrington Wolves slip to a second successive Super League loss.
The winger, on-loan at Wakefield, helped the visitors to victory over Tony Smith’s side in Round 22 at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Riley scored twice in the first half after Rhys Evans’ early try, with Danny Washbrook and Joel Monaghan also going over before the interval.
Evans scored immediately after the break, before the sides traded further tries from Riley, Stefan Ratchford, Jimmy Keinhorst, Ryan Atkins, Richie Mathers and Nick Scruton.
It took Wolves less than 30 seconds to opening the scoring after receiving the ball from kick-off.
Ratchford took the catch and the ball was worked left to Ben Currie, who opened his legs to round the Wakefield defence.
The 20-year-old drew the tackle from former Wolves fullback Mathers and offloaded to Evans for the winger to scoot into the corner from just inside the visitors’ half. Chris Bridge clipped the post from the conversion.
With six minutes played Monaghan managed to keep hold of a difficult Ratchford pass and shrugged off a tackle before sending a looping ball inside to Gareth O’Brien.
The half back was looking for support and almost found it in Micky Higham, but his attempted pass was knocked down by a Wildcats hand.
Wolves had made the decision to allow loanee Riley to play against his parent club and eight minutes in the inevitable happened.
A Wakefield break put Reece Lyne through and he fed the winger at speed to go in at the corner. The try was met with chants of ‘there’s only one Chris Riley’ from both sets of fans.
Jarrod Sammut added the extras from wide out.
A late tackle on O’Brien 10 metres from Wakefield’s line allowed Wolves the chance to keep the pressure on.
But after Wildcats’ defence had kept Wolves at arm’s length, an attempted grubber from O’Brien was caught on the full by Tim Smith and the visitors could break.
The Yorkshire outfit gained good ground with each tackle until the in-form Smith gave a reverse pass to Washbrook and he crashed off into the post-guard and over to increase their lead on 18 minutes. Sammut converted.
Less than two minutes later and the visitors, and on-loan Wolves man Riley, were in again.
Andy Raleigh stole possession from Ratchford after he picked up at dummy half when Matty Russell was grounded.
Raleigh jinked forward and once he was held up Paul McShane took over and span wide left to Lyne, who spotted Riley on the overlap at close range. Sammut pulled the kick wide.
Wolves’ chances to reduce the deficit were appearing few and far between, and their attempts at a fluent attacking game were not helped by dropped balls and the visitors slowing the game at the play-the-ball.
But with eight minutes of the half remaining it was a Wakefield mistake that allowed the hosts to reply.
O’Brien lofted a high kick towards the visitors’ line, which was not taken in the air by Mathers and Monaghan pounced. Bridge converted.
The hosts looked to have gained momentum after the score and nearly closed the gap further on 37 minutes, but Bridge’s miss-pass for Gene Ormsby was too high for the winger to hold when five metres out.
Moments later and Ormsby was unable to hold another, this time unopposed after the returning James Laithwaite passed wide having broken the line in a swift Wolves break.
In almost an exact rerun of the first half, Wolves opened the second-half scoring through Evans inside two minutes of the restart.
The ball found its way to O’Brien after Ormsby had been tackled inside his own half and the half back’s long pass found Currie, who in turn fed Evans to go the distance for his 15th try of the season.
Bridge was unable to convert from a difficult angle.
Richie Myler joined the action on 50 minutes to mark his return from a lengthy lay-off through injury.
But it was Wildcats who struck next, with Lyne again handing on for Riley to cross, the on-loan winger this time finishing well with several defenders for company on 51 minutes. Sammut slotted the extras.
Two minutes later Ben Westwood was held up over the Wakefield line after a Currie break had taken Wolves deep into opposition territory.
On 55 minutes Wolves did get their reply, courtesy of a superb piece of skill from Ratchford.
Moved back into the half backs alongside Myler, the 26-year-old cleverly sent a subtle chip over the Wakefield defender and collected himself on the bounce to drive over before adding the extras.
However, it only took until the hour-mark for Wakefield to re-establish their advantage.
Raleigh’s break opened up the Wolves defence and from the play-the-ball McShane fed Smith, who sent a grubber over the try line for Keinhorst to ground. Sammut was unable to convert.
Atkins, against his former club, was held over the line from Westwood’s pass, as was Myler moments later as the visitors’ defence refused to be breached.
Myler did think he had found a gap after a neat offload from Russell on the halfway, but the Scotland international was adjudged to have passed the ball forward.
It was after regaining possession from the forward pass that Wakefield were awarded a penalty for an illegal tackle from Myler and Paul Wood.
Sammut opted to kick and put Wildcats more than a converted try ahead with 12 minutes to go.
Two minutes later and Wolves brought it back to within two points as the Wildcats defence again failed to deal with a high ball.
This time it was Ratchford’s angled kicked that fell into the path of Atkins and Ratchford kicked the extras.
But the visitors responded to again open an eight-point advantage on 73 minutes with former Wolves man Mathers side-stepping his way to the line besides the posts to give Sammut an easy kick.
Wolves’ day got worse when Russell was replaced after taking a knock and appearing not moving for several minutes – thankfully returning to his feet to leave the field.
Sammut made a superb break once play was resumed and it eventually led to McShane putting Scruton over with three minutes remaining.