IT appeared Warrington Wolves and Hull Kingston Rovers would cancel one another out when they met for the second time in five days on Friday, for 35 minutes at least.
The first-half arm wrestle could have been broken on occasions, but where Wolves seized on their breaks to progress in the Challenge Cup the previous week, at The Halliwell Jones Stadium they lacked that edge.
An otherwise solid defensive display survived when Omari Caro juggled and dropped Kris Keating’s lob, while Trent Waterhouse failed to capitalise at the other end – fumbling Richie Myler’s pass in an equally advantageous position.
Moments later Waterhouse had no trouble holding on, pouncing on Keating’s grubber after the indecisive Caro was held up on the line.
Tony Smith started with the forwards who made an impact from the bench a week earlier – James Laithwaite, Paul Wood and Michael Monaghan – but despite a gutsy performance Wolves found themselves behind when Rovers’ Michael Weyman crossed five minutes before the break.
Warrington had mustered successive comeback victories and looked like doing so again when Stefan Ratchford charged down a Keating clearance and went the distance. Referee Robert Hicks blew for a knock on.
Wolves had been clinical in the second period in East Hull, but back on home turf lacked inventiveness, and luck, as Rhys Evans’ touchdown was ruled out by the touch judge and Ryan Atkins was twice held up.
The visitors, in turn, seized on their half chances.
Keating’s bomb bounced kindly for Travis Burns to collect and dive over in a single movement, before the try scorer’s blocked drop goal attempt eventually resulted in a Keating score.
Myler’s reward for a committed performance, which included a last-ditch tackle on Ade Gardner late on, was two tries – twice the man in support, epitomising his workrate on the night.
But Weyman and Burns had already increased Hull KR’s lead, with Wolves’ day only marred further by the news that Paul Wood, a tear to his bicep, and Simon Grix, dislocated shoulder, need surgery.
The 8,788 attendance is Wolves’ lowest at home for a Super League match since the 8,681 that watched Wolves lose 40-28 at home to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on August 21, 2009
Twelve points scored against Hull KR equals Wolves’ worst against Robins in the Super League era, matching the 2013 performance when Tony Smith’s team lost 26-12 at Craven Park
Joel Monaghan needs four tries to reach 100 for Warrington. He has scored 96 times in 94 games for Wolves since 2011
Rhys Evans and Joel Monaghan are Wolves’ leading try scorers this term, with six each
Super League Round 8, Friday, April 11, 2014
Warrington Wolves...12 Hull Kingston Rovers...25
Wolves: Matty Russell; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins Rhys Evans; Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Trent Waterhouse, James Laithwaite, Simon Grix. Subs: Ben Harrison, Ben Currie, Anthony England, Brad Dwyer.
Hull KR: Ben Cockyane; Ade Gardner, Kris Welham, Liam Salter, Omari Caro; Travis Burns, Kris Keating; Adam Walker, Josh Hodgson, Michael Weyman, Kevin Larroyer, Graeme Horne, Neville Costigan. Subs: Craig Hall, James Green, Jason Netherton, Rhys Lovegrove.
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