TONY Smith slammed the tough Easter period after Wolves’ win against Widnes Vikings on Friday and he was right to fear for his charges when they lined up against in-form Castleford Tigers three days later.
Truly rumbled in The (Mend-A-Hose) Jungle, not for 25 years has a Warrington side suffered this margin of defeat away at Cas, a 40-6 loss in November 1989.
Perhaps more importantly this was Wolves’ biggest defeat since a 62-18 mauling by London Broncos in August 2012 and, a bright 10-minute spell aside, it never looked like going any other way.
Smith selected Kevin Penny for the first time since his return and the winger’s inclusion nearly proved inspired with the deadlock yet to be broken.
The 26-year-old, who burst on to the scene against Leeds in 2007, was only denied his 30th try for the club in his first Warrington outing since 2009 by a superb tackle from Tigers’ full back Jordan Tansey.
From there on the visitors offered little in attack, their only try coming from a rare Marc Sneyd error when Michael Monaghan charged down his clearance kick and sprinted to the line, allowing Stefan Ratchford to level from the conversion.
That was about as good as Wolves’ kicking game got. Gareth O’Brien, the architect on a number of occasions against Widnes, struggled to impose himself on the Super League Round 10 tie and with 10 minutes remaining found himself in a position to create with the boot.
The half back’s neat grubber from close range bounced too high for Chris Hill to hold and the prop knocked forward over the try line to replacement Ben Currie.
Tries from Michael Shenton, James Clare, two, Jamie Ellis and Richard Owen had already put Castleford out of sight, though Shenton still found time to add his hat-trick.
The lasting effect of a bruising encounter for Wolves was witnessing Ben Harrison, wrist, join Ben Westwood, Simon Grix, Paul Wood, Chris Bridge and Richie Myler on the injury list.
What looks on paper like a straightforward Challenge Cup tie against Championship outfit Doncaster this weekend should come as a welcome relief to Smith’s side.
Wolves’ widest margin of defeat away to Castleford since 1989/90 season
Only won both Easter games once during Tony Smith’s reign, the last time being in 2010 at home to Salford and away to Hull
Kevin Penny’s first appearance since re-signing for the club, the last of his 43 appearances in the first team being at home to Harlequins on September 13, 2009
Super League Round 10 Monday, April 21, 2014
Castleford Tigers...40 Warrington Wolves...6
Tigers: Jordan Tansey; Richard Owen, Ashley Gibson, Michael Shenton, James Clare; Marc Sneyd, Jamie Ellis; Andy Lynch, Adam Milner, Scott Wheeldon, Frankie Mariano, Jake Webster, Nathan Massey. Subs: Craig Huby, Grant Millington, Weller Hauraki, Daryl Clark.
Wolves: Matty Russell; Joel Monaghan, Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Kevin Penny; Gareth O’Brien, Stefan Ratchford; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Roy Asotasi, Trent Waterhouse, James Laithwaite, Ben Harrison. Subs: Micky Higham, Ben Currie, Anthony England, Ben Evans.
Scoring: Clare try, 14mins, Sneyd goal, 6-0; M Monaghan try, 22mins, Ratchford goal, 6-6; Shenton try, 37mins, Sneyd goal 12-6; Shenton try, 40mins, Sneyd goal, 18-6; Clare try, 51mins, 22-6; Ellis try, 54mins, Sneyd goal, 28-6; Owen try, 61mins, Sneyd goal, 34-6; Shenton try, 75mins, Sneyd goal, 40-6.
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Penalties: Tigers 3 Wolves 3
Top Man: Kevin Penny