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PICTURES: Wilkin is Saint and sinner as Brown's men stay on winning run
Wakefield 16 Saints 24.
SAINTS bounced back from a 16-4 deficit to maintain their 100 per cent start to the campaign – but again it was achieved at some significant cost.
Their first game without chief string-puller Luke Walsh was always going to be problematic and that became even more so when Lance Hohaia pulled up in warm-up with a knee injury.
And Walsh’s absence showed in the first half, with the attack drifting somewhat, and it only really sparked into life when Tommy Makinson sped down the wing, brushing off opposite number Chris Riley before tossing the ball inside for Josh Jones to rampage over like an untethered bull.
Trinity skipper Danny Kirmond took an inside ball to level on the half hour mark, but Saints had a chance to go in at the break in front when they were handed a penalty in front of the sticks.
They spurned that chance and tapped it – and were badly burnt as a result - with the subsequent pass hitting the deck and snaffled up by master poacher Jarrod Sammut, who streaked away before shipping it left for Reece Lyne to cross for an 80 metre touchdown.
So Trinity went in with their tails up – and came out in a similar manner, so when crafty rake Paul McShane dummied his way over from close range just after the break Saints had it all to do at 16-4 at a ground that has traditionally been troublesome.
But halves Jon Wilkin and Paul Wellens got a grip and gave the team more direction in the second half and a sparkling spell of four tries in 14 minutes put Saints back in the driving seat - and from there they never looked back.
Wellens, playing at six, sent Sia Soliola storming over on 46 minutes and then the skipper sent an inch perfect grubber for former Huddersfield centre Matty Dawson to cross for a try on his Saints debut.
Then big Joe Greenwood put Saints back in front when he pushed himself in the right place to take Wilkin's pass to put Saints back in front.
Greenwood, a late replacement for Hohaia, made a big impression – his first one back in Super League since providing the winning punchline against Wigan last July.
And the Saints comeback was complete when Makinson leapt for Wilkin's cross kick for a fine touchdown on the hour mark.
The last quarter was scoreless as Saints held out for their sixth win from as many matches, but alas it was not without incident with Jonny Lomax felled by a tackle from Ali Lauitiiti and Kyle Amor recklessly swinging at Matt Ryan three minutes from time.
Both incidents were put on report, with Amor’s subsequent ban, plus that of Wilkin for his earlier tackle on Riley, putting a dampener on what was a gutsy victory.
Wakefield: Mathers; Fox, Keinhorst Lyne, Riley; Sammut, Godinet; Anderson, McShane, Scruton, Lauitiiti, Kirmond Tautai. Subs: Raleigh, Ryan, Smith, Siejka, Saints: Lomax; Makinson, Jones, Dawson, Swift; Wellens, Wilkin; Amor, Roby, Laffranchi, Manu, Flanagan, Walker. Subs: Hohaia, Masoe, Soliola, Richards.