WAKEFIELD coach Richard Agar recounted a bizarre conversation involving referee Steve Ganson as the Wildcats took their first win of the year in a contest which saw a player from each side sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements.
Hull KR’s Graeme Horne (17th minute) and Wakefield’s Danny Kirmond (48) were given spells in an incident-packed game which started with Rovers’ Lincoln Withers being knocked out and badly cut when he tried to tackle Justin Poore as he carted the ball back from the kick-off.
Five-eighth Withers was taken to hospital and played no further part.
The unusual sub-plot occured when Agar sent his assistant, James Webster, to see Ganson at halftime in order to check if a general warning issued to both teams in the first half was still in force in the second session.
“We did ask Steve at halftime if the warning was still on,” Agar said. “He said the warning were off.
“But James Webster asked him and he throught James was working for Hull KR. So Steve …. I said I wouldn’t mention it in press but … even though he said that to us, if the warning was still on and Kirmond’s done that, he was right to sin bin bin
“I’m not too sure he really warranted a sin binning and I’m not too sure about the warning.”
Webster formerly played at Hull KR. Prop Poore, meanwhile, said he was concerned for the welfare of fellow Australian Withers.
“I think he just leaned down and I sort of copped him with an elbow as I was running,” Poore said. “It’s just the style I run with. I feel pretty bad actually. He split his head open pretty bad. I just hope he’s alright.”
Play was held up for several minutes while Withers was loaded on a stretcher, with players doing stretches to stay warm in near-zero temperatures. When it resumed, a magnificent Dean Collis covering tackle prevented Hull KR’s David Hodgson from opening the scoring.
When the Wildcats’ points came, there were 18 of them in eight minutes with hooker Paul Aiton (18 minutes), centre Reece Lynne (24) and winger Peter Fox (26) all crossing to seemingly grab the round two Super League contest by the throat.
But after the return of Horne, the visitors promptly snatched two touchdowns – with new signing Cory Paterson scoring one (32) and setting up the other (to fullback Craig Hall, 35).
Centre Collis extended the Wakefield lead to 24-10 just after the break, before Hull KR halfback Michael Dobson showed his frustration when forward Con Mika was reported by Ganson. The incident appeared to be an accidental head clash with Kyle Amor – then the sin bin once again changed the course of the game.
A minute after captain Kirmond was dispatched, Hodgson bagged a converted try and he scored again just as the Wildcat was returning, narrowing the margin to four.
With the return of a full complement for both sides, it was left to Wakefield winger Ben Cockayne – who departed Hull KR after off-field indescretions two years ago – to decisively intervene. Cockayne scored tries in the 61st, 67th and 78th minutes during a period that team-mate Ali Lauitiiti came into his own with some wily passing.
Hull KR have won one of their last 12 competition matches. “The referee tonight had cause to award an awful lot of penalties against us – we have to be more disciplined,” said coach Craig Sandercock.
“If we get an ounce of luck, if we’re more disciplined with the footy, if the bounce of the ball goes our way, we’ve got the semblance of a good footy team here.”
WAKEFIELD 36 (B Cockayne 3 P Aiton R Lynne P Fox D Collis tries P Sykes 4 goals) bt HULL KR 20 (C Paterson C Hall J Hodgson tries M Dobson 2 goals) at Rapid Solicitors Stadium. Referee: S Ganson. Crowd: 9,237.
WAKEFIELD: Richard Mathers; Peter Fox, Dean Collis, Reece Lyne, Ben Cockayne; Paul Sykes, Tim Smith; Danny Washbrook, Danny Kirkmond, Ali Lauitiiti, Andy Raleigh, Paul Aiton, Justin Poore. Res: Oli Wilkes, Kyle Wood, Kyle Amor, Frankie Mariano
ROVERS: Craig Hall; Omari Caro, Liam Salter, Graeme Horne, David Hodgson; Lincoln Withers, Michael Dobson; George Griffin, Cory Paterson, Con Mika, Adam Walker, Josh Hodgson, Mickey Paea. Res: Keal Carlisle, Jordan Cox, Dale Ferguson, Evarn Tuimavave.
Halftime: Wakefield 18-10