Wakefield Wildcats showcase Super League class in victory over Featherstone Rovers

WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats showcased their Super League class as they swept aside Championship neighbours Featherstone Rovers 38-10 in Sunday’s pre-season trial game at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.

Five first-half tries were ultimately enough for Richard Agar’s men as the hosts proved too strong and fast for their visitors in the first half.

Wakefield’s home debutants shone, with Justin Poore needing just five minutes to open his try-scoring account, while Reece Lyne chipped in with a brace of tries. Ali Lauitiiti, Peter Fox, Ben Cockayne and Matty Wildie were Wildcats’ other try-scorers.

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Former Featherstone winger Cockayne in particular impressed, getting on the try-scoring sheet and having a big hand in two of Wakefield’s other tries.

Rovers improved on the resumption and could leave with the positive of ‘drawing’ the second half 10-10 thanks to tries from full-back Ian Hardman and James Lockwood.

Other bonuses for Wakefield came through Paul Aiton’s first appearance on home soil since suffering a broken jaw midway through last season, while Oli Wilkes returned from injury and Brad Singleton also made his debut following a loan move from Leeds Rhinos.

Wildcats went into the game on the back of an intense warm weather training camp in Portugal but showed no signs of early fatigue in the colder conditions of West Yorkshire as Poore took an Aiton pass to crash over for the opener. Sykes kicked the first of his four successful first-half conversions.

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The Flat Cappers looked for a response and enjoyed their best spell of the first 40 minutes after Poore’s opener, only to be met with stern Wakefield defence.

When Darryl Powell’s men did get in position to cross the line Andy Kain’s pass was just too strong for winger Johnny Hepworth to get on the end of.

Rovers were made to pay for their missed chance when Tim Smith put a rampaging Ali Lauitiiti over from five metres out in the 13th minute.

The try sparked a dominant spell of play for the hosts and, after Dean Collis and Peter Fox failed to turn a breakaway into four points, Cockayne charged 60 metres from a Lyne pass to extend his side’s lead.

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Hepworth and Ben Helliwell could not turn an attacking Featherstone move into their side’s first points of the match and just minutes later Wakefield scored with the try of the match.

Richie Mathers scooped up a Liam Finn kick and fed an on-song Cockayne, who charged through the Rovers defence before off-loading to Fox, who crashed over the whitewash.

Wildcats wrapped-up their first half scoring in the 33rd minute when Cockayne picked up a Paul Sykes kick and fed Lyne for his first of the afternoon.

The damage had already been done in the first half by Wakefield but Rovers looked better on the resumption.

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And the visitors got their reward 12 minutes after the restart when Hardman crossed for his side’s first points. Finn missed the kick.

Rovers looked to build on their opening try and enjoyed a good spell of possession with the ball but could not make it count.

Instead, Wildcats added their sixth try just after the hour mark when Cowling fed Lyne, who moved to play on the wing in the second half after starting at centre, to cross in the corner.

Prop Steve Crossley was held up on the line and Rovers also had a try chalked off as they more than matched their hosts in the second 40 minutes. The visitors were determined to add a second try and they got it through Lockwood.

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Wakefield had the final say, however, as Lee Smith’s brilliant off-load resulted in Matty Wildie wrapping-up the try-scoring, with Cockayne tagging on the extras.

Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Lyne, Cockayne, Sykes, Smith, Poore, Aiton, Trout, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Substitutes: Wilkes, John Smith, Wildie, Cowling, Singleton, Mellars.

Rovers: Hardman, Hepworth, Helliwell, Worthington, Browne, Kain, Finn, England, Ellis, Crossley, Dale, Bryan, Briggs. Substitutes: Lockwood, Kaye, Ormondroyd, Bostock, Mackay, Scott.

Referee: Robert Hicks.

Attendance: 3,214.