Wakefield Trinity 28 Hull KR 12: Liam Kay thrives as Korbin Sims sent off
FANS back in Belle Vue for the first time in 14 months and a maiden win of the season: this was a glorious afternoon for Wakefield Trinity.
Chris Chester’s side finally got off the mark with a largely impressive display against in-form Hull KR.
Two-try Liam Kay helped set up the success but there were fine performances across the park, not least from fit-again captain Jacob Miller returning centre Bill Tupou and outstanding second-row Matty Ashurst.
Crucially, it ended Wakefield’s nine-match losing sequence, their last win being against Leeds Rhinos on October 29.
They led 22-0 until Rovers at last caused some damage of their own, Adam Quinlan scoring in the 55th minute, and, though the visitors narrowed the deficit further with Ben Crooks’ converted try, any hopes of an unlikely fightback were soon dashed by a moment of madness.
Korbin Sims, the Australian prop who has struggled to make his mark since joining from St George Illawarra this term, was red-carded for a reckless swinging arm on Trinity full-back Max Jowitt in the 69th minute.
The futile act summed up the Robins’ afternoon. They had already conceded one try in comical circumstances, captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall swatting off Trinity defenders near halfway but then pirouetting and sending a pass 10m back to who he thought was a colleague but was actually Tini Arona.
The Wakefield prop could not believe his luck as he turned and sprinted 40m to the line, just about getting there and prompting huge smiles from his team-mates.
Tongan centre Tupou powered away once more at the end to supply Miller with another try and it was the least the Australian stand-off deserved after having such an impact on his return from injury.
Wakefield - who lost controversially in Golden Point extra-time at Leeds Rhinos last Friday - led 16-0 at half-time largely courtesy of Kay’s two converted tries.
The winger’s first came on 13 minutes after KR’s Jordan Abdull had kicked the ball out on the full.
Trinity spread the ball well before full-back Jowitt delivered the killer cut-out pass for his team-mate to dive in at the corner.
Abdull - in career-best form and having scored the late match-winning try at Castleford Tigers last Monday - then inexplicably sailed the restart dead, too, to leave his side facing more pressure.
Miller did force a goalline drop-out but there was no second try.
Instead, Mason Lino extended their lead with a controversial 20th minute penalty.
Trinity’s Joe Westerman fell to the ground to give himself up in the tackle only for Dean Hadley to rip possession from him and race 70m untouched to touch down at the other end.
Referee Liam Moore ruled he had already called “surrender” meaning the penalty was awarded against Hadley but it was close.
Rovers’ chances were limited, their best effort coming when Ryan Hall did well to gather Abdull’s long pass but Shaun Kenny-Dowall could not finish off when it the ball came back inside.
The visitors were not aided by more mistakes, Ben Crooks initially gathering Miler’s attempted 40/20 out of the air only to then spill it into touch with the danger averted.
Fortunately for the winger, Lino spilled cheaply at the play-the-ball in the next set to ensure Trinity did not capitalise.
However, Lino kicked another penalty after Hadley - who had an eventful time after coming on for Muizz Mustapha - hit Miller late after a kick.
The Rovers loose forward, though, ended up worse off having seen Miller’s boot follow through and catch him flush in the face.
It caused a nasty bleed and he had to be helped from the field.
Litten made a dazzling break for the Robins after entering the fray but he was denied by Jowitt and then Matt Parcell was caught on the last tackle by Arona.
In reply, Miller made a searing break of his own and, though that came to nothing, some slick hands from Ashurst saw Tupou get on the outside of Crooks in the 36th minute to supply Kay with his double.
Rovers had fought back from 14-0 down to win at Castleford earlier in the week but there was no such reprieve here.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt; Kershaw, Lyne, Tupou, Kay; Miller, Lino; Arona, Walker, Tanginoa, Pitts, Ashurst, Westerman. Substitutes: Fifita, Batchelor, Battye, Eaves.
Hull KR: Quinlan; Crooks, Takairangi, Kenny-Dowall, Hall; Milnes, Abdull; Sims, Parcel, Lawler, Linnett, Johnson, Mustapha. Substitutes: Hadley, Litten, Storton, Maher.
Referee: Liam Moore (Wigan)