|27th Mar 2009|| Super League||AWAY ||6038 ||(HT:22:12)|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 25. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : AFTER the tragic events of last weekend, describing any Rugby League match between the late Leon Walker’s club Wakefield and any Super League team was always going be difficult. As Wildcats’ head coach John Kear had said during the week, the result is secondary to the passion and sorrow felt at the death of one their and the game’s own. So Saintsrlfc.com, like the rest of the Rugby League community, is going to stay away from superlatives and hyperbole and just make comment on what it hoped would be a superb and contest between Wakefield and Saints.Simply, Saints won 42-18.
In a fitting tribute to the 21-year-old, Saints walked out first to great applause then Wakefield joined the field. Everyone then observed a superb silence. 18-year-old Jonny Lomax started at full back, with 19-year-old Gary Wheeler deputising coming in for Leon Pryce who replaced Sean Long, on the teamsheet at least, at scrum half. Francis Meli made his first start of the season for the Club whilst Tony Puletua made his return from a groin injury on the bench. Maurie Fa’asavalu shook off a nose injury to join him.
Wakefield received the ball from their own kick off then scored after Danny Brough’s kick hit the post on the last tackle and Snitch was first to the bouncing ball. Brough easy through the ‘H’s.
Leon Pryce’s kick then caused Blaymire some problems and the video ref deemed he had touched it before it went in-goal. Francis Meli then stopped Gleeson making a clean get away. But Saints hit back on 20 minutes when Keiron Cunningham broke through, fed Jon Wilkin who had James Graham in support. Wheeler making it 6-6. A couple of minutes later, Lomax passed to Wheeler who skipped inside two tackles to go over. He then made it two from two with the boot. Aaron Murphy rounded off some great handling from Matt Blaymire in Saints’ 10 yard line to bring Wakefield back into it and then Brough slotted it over from the touchline to level it up. But Saints were back ahead moments later when Wilkin’s cute chip through hit the post and Matt Gidley cleaned up. Wheeler again perfect with the two-pointer. And with four minutes to go in the half, Pryce jinked over to extend the lead further. He was fed by a cute pass from Jonny Lomax who found the England half-back running a great line. Yet, there was almost a late twist when right on the stroke of half time, Wakefield won a penalty then Brough chipped through close to the line for Scott Grix to pounce. But the video referee claimed he knocked the ball onto the posts and denied the score.
Half Time: Wakefield 12 Saints 22
Saints kicked off in the second half into arctic conditions and a swirling wind. Two minutes in, Brough intercepted a ball and went 60 yards before being hauled down by Lomax and Gardner. It was great covering from the young full back who was having a competent debut. Saints then defended 12 tackles on their own line to keep their 10 point lead. Wheeler limped off after 51 mins and apparently Chris Flannery left the ground at half time as his wife was in labour. Jason Cayless then left the field with a shoulder injury. Saints went further ahead with Pryce’s second when he found a gap to go under the sticks and Gidley made it 28-12 with a simple conversion. On 63 mins, Cunningham picked out a rampaging Puletua who flew in under the sticks and Gidley extended the lead. Then a couple of minutes later, Wilkin dummied to kick, then passed and set Lomax free only for the youngster to be held up inches from the line. Seconds later, the ball went right and Gardner dove in for another score. Wakefield pulled one back through Ryan Atkins in the last ten minutes and Brough added the extras. The impressive Leon Pryce then completed his hat-trick with a well worked try late on to seal two points on a night when the Rugby League community was united.
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