In the present work, unsteady RANS simulations were performed to clarify several interesting features of the unsteady three-dimensional flow field in a turbine stage. The unsteady effect was investigated for two cases of axial spacing between stator and rotor, i.e. large and small axial spacing. Simulation results showed that the stator wake was convected from pressure side to suction side in the rotor. As a result, another secondary flow, which counter-rotated against the passage vortices, was periodically generated by the stator wake passing through the rotor passage. It was found that turbine stage efficiency with the small axial spacing was higher than that with the large axial spacing. This was because the stator wake in the small axial spacing case entered the rotor before mixing and induced the stronger counter-rotating vortices to suppress the passage vortices more effectively, while the wake in the large axial spacing case eventually promoted the growth of the secondary flow near the hub due to the migration of the wake towards the hub.