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Warrington Wolves dominate Wakefield Trinity Wildcats to move second in Super League
TONY Smith told of his delight at the excellent return of Stefan Ratchford from injury, with the former Salford utility man’s brace helping Wolves achieve a 42-12 win at Belle Vue on Sunday afternoon.
Having been pressed to the final minutes in the reverse fixture at the Halliwell Jones earlier in the season, Smith was also pleased that his Wolves team were able to produce a strong second half performance and return home from a difficult environment with such a comfortable result.
“Wakefield are a good team, they throw a lot of things at you and they are a very difficult team to play against, especially here,” said Smith.
“They gave us a tough match at our place too, as everyone reminded me this week, but they are even tougher to play here.
“To get a score line like that was a pretty good effort from the team that we put out.
“I think Stefan did pretty good for a guy who has been out for a long time.
“He did great job really considering I threw him in at the deep end, but he has been training with such enthusiasm in the last few weeks that I knew he would do fine.
“I have a high regard for him and the way he has trained showed that he was jumping out of his skin for this game.
“I thought it showed in a fair few instances today, he had a lot of energy for someone who has just come back from injury.”
It was a confident result in the end for Wolves, with a Ryan Atkins' hat-trick and braces from both Chris Riley and Ratchford confirming a 42-12 defeat of Richard Agar’s Wakefield despite a fiercely contested first half.
It looked at times in the opening 40 minutes that Wakefield may reproduce the performance that saw them lose by only two points at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, fighting their way back from a 12-6 deficit to restore parity through Steve Southern’s try six minutes before the break.
But once Wolves began to exert their authority on the game, led by the experienced hand of Brett Hodgson and young half back pairing of Ratchford and Gareth O’Brien, Smith was confident that there was only ever going to be one winner.
“It can be a fairly hostile place here, the crowd are on top of you and they are a good attacking team,” said Smith.
“It took us some time to get any continuity and flow within the game, but I thought we took some things into our own hands in the second half and that worked.
“We took control of things very well and got our rewards over the 80 minutes.
“It took some time to work out that we have to invest some energy sometimes to get the spoils and we started to do that in the second half rather than just go through the arm wrestle.
“Apart from one or two blemishes in the second half we were pretty good.
“The first half we were pretty ho hum, but we were very dominant in the second half, in all aspects, scoring and defence as well.”