Warrington survive potential shock upset to reclaim spot at top of Super League table
Daryl Powell’s Warrington survived a potential scare by claiming a 32-18 victory over Wakefield to reclaim their spot at the Super League table.
The win marks Warrington’s ninth in the 2023 campaign.
Warrington had found themselves locked in at 12-12 at the break with Super League’s bottom side, who continue their search for their first win of the season.
However, Kevin Proctor’s second half red card was the game changer, with George Williams scoring in the second 40, alongside a brace from Matty Ashton.
Wakefield, who hold the record for the worst attack so far in 2023, bagged three tries through Morgan Smith, Kelepi Tanginoa and Matty Ashurst.
Warrington survive scare
Josh Thewlis was named at full-back by Powell for the hosts, with Matt Dufty named on the bench.
Following his injury sustained against St Helens, Daryl Clark did not feature, with Danny Walker named at starting hooker. Meanwhile, Joe Bullock returned from his injury for the first time since Round Four.
The home side had opened the game strongly, with Thewlis scoring an early brace for a 12-0 lead. Both tries converted by Stefan Ratchford.
However, there wasn’t too much for the home side to cheer about during the remainder of the first half.
Given the nod over Luke Gale in the halves to partner Mason Lino, Smith raced away to make it 12-6 on 17 minutes, converted by Wakefield full-back Will Dagger.
On his return from injury, Tanginoa levelled the scores just seven minutes later, locking the game at 12-12 at the break.
Tanginoa, 29, scoring his four-pointer in the centres after Liam Kay was forced from the field through injury early on in the clash, forcing head coach Mark Applegarth to reshuffle his side.
HT: Warrington 12-12 Wakefield
It was neck and neck in the early stages of the second half until NRL import and ex-New Zealand international Proctor was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Thewlis.
It saw Warrington skipper Ratchford convert the two points on offer for a 14-12 lead on 52 minutes.
Matty Russell also left the field for a HIA, later returning, which saw Dufty introduced to the action on the hour mark.
Fresh from his new extended contract, Ashton then extended his side’s lead, much to the delight of the home crowd, with a flying finish in the corner for a 20-12 score.
Thewlis later thought he had completed his hat-trick, only for his attempt to be ruled out by the official for a forward pass.
Less than a week after leading England to a win over France on the same ground, Williams raced away to score under the sticks for a 26-12 scoreline.
But it was a nervy end for Warrington with Ashurst scoring with five minutes on the clock, converted by Dagger.
However, Ashton bagged his second with minutes left on the clock, with Ratchford keeping a 100% record from the boot.
Warrington: Thewlis, Russell, Mata’utia, Ratchford, Ashton, Williams, Drinkwater, Harrison, Walker, Vaughan, Currie, Nicholson, McGuire. Bench: Dufty, Kasiano, Philbin, Bullock. 18: Green.
Tries: Thewlis (2), Ashton (2), Williams. Goals: Ratchford 6
Wakefield: Dagger, Kay, Pitts, Gaskell, Taufua, Smith, Lino, Whitbread, Bowes, Proctor, Tanginoa, Ashurst, Crowther. Bench: Hood, Atoni, Bowden, Eseh. 18: Battye.
Tries: Smith, Tanginoa, Ashurst Goals: Dagger 3
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