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Round 8: Wakefield smash past Wigan
Wigan?s season sunk again as they were crushed at fellow strugglers Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 40-14 to remain marooned at the bottom of engage Super League with the prospect of title favourites St Helens next up at Knowsley Road.
The Warriors had brought some cheer to a quite dismal season last Sunday with a battling victory against the same opposition on the same pitch, but showed no signs of being anywhere near capable of a repeat against a Wildcats side who were up for it from the off and showed no mercy to their wounded prey.
First-half tries to Michael Korkidas, Jamie Rooney, Colum Halpenny, Jon Whittle and Jason Demetriou had, in truth, put the game well beyond the visitors, and the Wigan response from Brett Dallas (2) and Kevin Brown were scant consolation in the face of near one-way traffic.
Second row David Solomona, who this week turned down a move to Friday?s opponents, returned after a two-match absence for Wakefield with a rib injury, while Ben Jeffries was passed fit at scrum half.
The Warriors were missing Wayne Godwin (hip), Paul Prescott (eye) and Bryan Fletcher (suspension), while they handed a debut to new signing Jordan James.
The home side got off to the best possible start when Pat Richards dropped the ball in Wigan?s first set of six and Korkidas crashed over from Solomona?s neat short ball.
It was the first of several dreadful handling errors from the Australian import, filling in at full-back, who looked so impressive in winning the NRL title with Wests Tigers last term but who has struggled to adapt to Super League so far.
The Wildcats added a second try on seven minutes, when Olivier Elima broke through some poor tackling and found Rooney on his inside, with Rooney?s second goal opening up a 12-0 lead.
Two minutes later it was 18-0 as Korkidas this time made the easy break for Halpenny to back up and score, with Rooney again on target with the boot.
The visitors were offering nothing in way of an attacking threat, and Wakefield were in again after 18 minutes, Ned Catic brushing off more woeful tackling to offload to former Warrior Whittle to cross in the corner, Rooney?s touchline conversion adding salt to Wigan wounds.
After 26 minutes came a passage of play that summed up Wigan?s season perfectly - the home side fumbled on Wigan?s 20 metre line, and Mark Calderwood fly-kicked the ball ahead three times only to touch down inches over the Wakefield dead-ball line.
To make matters worse the speedy winger injured his hamstring in the process which, despite him trying to run it off, forced him from the field shortly after.
Rooney extended the lead to 26-0 with a penalty bang in front after Jeffries was obstructed chasing his own kick, before Wigan at last gave their travelling army something to cheer.
Mick Higham made the break, handed onto Sean O?Loughlin, who put Dallas over for a try under the posts that Richards quickly converted.
However, this was not to be the start of another famous Wakefield collapse, as Demetriou added his side?s fifth try just before the break which Rooney again converted for a 32-6 advantage which certainly did not flatter the home side.
The second half got off to a lively start with Warriors new boy James going high on Korkidas and then another altercation involving Higham threatening to get out of hand as tempers became heated.
Rooney added a penalty for the second incident to make it 34-6, before the Warriors notched their second try on 52 minutes.
Danny Orr?s kick was fumbled horribly by Austin Buchanan into the path of Dallas, who got downward pressure onto the ball over the line, although Danny Tickle missed the difficult kick.
Tickle suffered more misfortune on the hour mark as he dropped the ball on halfway and Sam Obst had too much pace for the covering defence, with Rooney?s eighth goal bringing up the 40-point mark.
Brown pulled another try back for Wigan after 66 minutes, but Tickle?s conversion bounced back off the post to encapsulate his team?s misery.
Wakefield: 40 Tries: Obst, Whittle, Halpenny, Rooney, Korkidas, Demetriou Goals: Rooney 8
Wigan: 14 Tries: Dallas 2, Brown Goals: Richards
Wakefield Wildcats: Halpenny, Buchanan, Demetriou, Whittle, Tadulala, Rooney, Jeffries, MacGillivray, Obst, Korkidas, Elima, Solomona, Betham.
Subs: Griffin, Field, White, Catic.
Wigan Warriors: Dallas, Calderwood, Vaealiki, Brown, Richards, Goulding, Moran, Seu Seu, Higham, Hargreaves, Tickle, Jonkers, O'Loughlin
Subs: Orr, Wilkes, Tomkins, James
Ref: P Bentham (Warrington)