Wakefield Wildcats open Super League XVII with victory at Widnes Vikings

Wakefield Wildcats logo
Wakefield Wildcats logo

WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats cruised to an opening day 32-14 victory at Widnes Vikings in Stobart Super League XVII.

Tries from Ali Lauitiiti, Andy Raleigh, Richie Mathers, Tim Smith and a brace from Peter Fox saw Richard Agar's new-look Wakefield side storm to success in a game that burst into life in the second half.

Widnes took a slender 10-4 lead into the interval, Danny Craven and Patrick Ah Van crossing for the hosts, but in the second half Wakefield dominated for long spells and got their just rewards to return back to Yorkshire with maximum points.

Wildcats came flying out of the traps and Ben Cockayne found his way over the line in the corner just two minutes in only for the video referee to rule that his foot had drifted into touch.

The Wildcats winger was looking lively early on and he had another good chance minutes later when a big Isaac John kick bounced around and found its way to Cockayne but he didn't have the pace to reach the try-line.

Widnes enjoyed their first spell of pressure around the seven minute mark and it resulted in a try. Danny Craven chased his own grubber kick and beat Wakefield full-back Richie Mathers to dot the ball down. Patrick Ah Van added the extras.

The try gave Vikings a boost and they enjoyed long spells on the Wakefield line. Wildcats boss Richard Agar will have been pleased with his side's defence, however, as they repelled attack after attack.

Wakefield's reward was their first points of Super League XVII on 20 minutes. Oliver Wilkes powered forward and John's pass found Lauitiiti, who eased over for the try. John missed the extras.

It resulted in ten minutes of pressure for Wakefield but they failed to add to their score. And Widnes finished the stronger, with Wakefield having Danny Kirmond to thank for denying former Wakefield man Frank Winterstein a try.

Vikings weren't to be denied a second try before the interval though and a long Willie Isa pass allowed Ah Van to cross in the corner for an unconverted try to give his side a 10-4 half-time lead.

As with the first half Wakefield started the second 40 well and this time an early video referee decision went their way. Andy Raleigh got on the end of a Tim Smith kick to cross the line and John converted to level the scores just minutes after the restart.

Wildcats were a stronger force in the second half as the sides traded sets for the next 15 minutes. That was until Hep Cahill charged down Kyle Wood's kick and ran 50 metres to cross in the corner. Ah Van missed the conversion to give Vikings a slender advantage after 55 minutes.

But that lead lasted just a matter of minutes as Wildcats went down the other end and Richie Mathers finished a flowing passing move to cross the whitewash and level. John added the extras to give Wakefield the lead for the first time.

The momentum was with Wakefield and the visitors were helped by Vikings giving away plenty of penalties inside their own 20 metre line. It gave Agar's men plenty of the ball and they extended their lead with 15 minutes to go when Tim Smith showed neat footwork to twist between the Widnes defence and find his way over the line. John again converted the extras to make it 22-14.

Vikings' test was made tougher with ten minutes to go when Ben Cross was sent to the sin-bin. It took Wakefield just a minute to take advantage of the extra man as Fox went over in the corner and added his second try minutes later to the delight of the travelling Wildcats fans behind the sticks.

Vikings: Craven, Dean, Marsh, Isa, Ah Van, Clarke, Hanbury, Cross, Moore, Kavanagh, Winterstein, Allen, Cahill. Replacements: White, Pickersgill, Haggerty, Mullally.

Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Mellars, Cockayne, John, Smith, Amor, Aiton, Southern, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Replacements: Wood, Wilkes, Raleigh, Johnson.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Attendance: 8,120

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