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GUARDIAN VERDICT: Warrington Wolves 44 Widnes Vikings 6
GOOD Friday’s display was the one Wolves supporters had been crying out for.
They were an organised and cohesive unit dominating their home turf and running in the highest number of points this season on the back of it.
After some uninspiring form at The Halliwell Jones Stadium this year, smiles returned – at least for three days!
This ‘Hallelujah’ event arrived as something of an Easter surprise, coming as it did a week after the poor loss to Hull KR against a Widnes team making its best start to a Super League season and on the back of late withdrawals from Richie Myler (shoulder) and Anthony England (sickness).
Looking switched on and revved up from the start, Tony Smith’s men ran up 18 points in as many minutes.
Myler’s replacement Gareth O’Brien and Stefan Ratchford quickly took control thanks to the sterling dummy-half work of Michael Monghan – later continued by Micky Higham – and the early forward dominance generated by Chris Hill, Roy Asotasi, Trent Waterhouse, James Laithwaite and Ben Harrison.
They all seemed to be revelling in the glorious sunshine and Vikings, who had shown a dip a week earlier in humid south of France, could not cope with what was being thrown at them especially around the ruck.
Epitomising that was the try of the match, Higham ducking two challenges as he sped out of dummy half and handing on to Chris Bridge to finish off the 60-metre move that gave Wolves a 24-0 half time advantage.
It helped Warrington that referee Ben Thaler was having none of the lying-on techniques that had ruined the previous week’s match, and had helped Vikings with 12 men complete the 2013 double over Wolves eight months earlier.
The second half was scrappier but featured some patient build-up play, Warrington twice forcing drop-outs and making Vikings play the game in their own half.
Rhys Evans cashed in best with two tries that make him the team’s leading scorer for the year, while Paddy Flynn’s late effort for the visitors was only the second time Widnes had threatened the line and even then took some scoring to the credit of Warrington’s defence.
Wolves scored more points in this game than the 42 they had mustered in their previous four home matches this season
Widest margin of victory since the 82-10 success against London Broncos at Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham on June 8, 2013
Ben Harrison’s first start since the Grand Final loss to Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford on October 5, 2013
Super League Round 9, Friday, April 18, 2014
Warrington Wolves...44 Widnes Vikings...6
Wolves: Matty Russell; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Evans; Gareth O’Brien, Stefan Ratchford; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Roy Asotasi, Trent Waterhouse, James Laithwaite, Ben Harrison. Subs: Micky Higham, Ben Currie, Glenn Riley, Ben Evans.
Vikings: Rhys Hanbury; Paddy Flynn, Cameron Phelps, Chris Dean, Jack Owens; Kevin Brown, Danny Craven; Alex Gerrard, Jon Clarke, Phil Joseph, Danny Galea, Danny Tickle, Hep Cahill. Subs: Willie Isa, Paul Clough, Lloyd White, Ben Kavanagh.
Scoring: O’Brien, 3mins, Bridge goal, 6-0; Joel Monaghan try, 12mins, Bridge goal, 12-0; Michael Monaghan try, 18mins, Bridge goal, 18-0; Bridge try, 38mins, Bridge goal; 24-0; Rhys Evans try, 43mins, 28-0; Ben Currie try, 56mins, Ratchford goal, 34-0; Rhys Evans try, 61mins, 38-0; Flynn try, 78mins, Tickle goal; 38-6; Atkins try, 83mins, Ratchford goal, 44-6.
Referee: Ben Thaler
Penalties: Wolves 9 Vikings 6
Top Man: Chris Hill
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