WOLVES are in control at half time but a depleted Castleford Tigers side are making it tough for them.
Cas, with eight of next weekend’s likely Challenge Cup Final side sat on the sidelines, took a leaf out of Leeds Rhinos’ books from last week by attempting to make the Wolves defence crack under pressure.
But Wolves’ resistance has been stubborn, and have looked threatening with every attack.
Tony Smith, bringing Chris Bridge and Gareth O’Brien back into the playmaking department as half backs, scored through Ryan Atkins, O’Brien and Bridge before James Clare pulled four points back for Cas.
Disappointingly, Bridge limped out of the game at the 30th minute mark.
Just like against Leeds last week, Wolves found themselves vigorously defending their own line for the opening five minutes.
Then on their second set with the ball O’Brien’s kick ahead bounced backwards into the path of Atkins and after dribbling ahead he pounced for the opening try in the seventh minute. Bridge converted for 6-0.
Again Cas played the pressure game, pummelling the Warrington line for three successive sets without joy against a hard-working Wolves rearguard.
And just like early on, as soon as Wolves got their hands on their ball again they scored.
Michael Monaghan threw a dummy and darted clear on a 40-metre run before putting the supporting O’Brien on a clear dart to the line. Bridge’s extras made it 12-0 after 19 minutes.
Bridge showed the strength of a forward and pace of a back as he exploded over from first receiver and then add the goal kick to move Wolves 18-0 ahead in the 26th minute.
Four minutes later Bridge hobbled off, with Michael Monaghan switching to stand off and Micky Higham being introduced off the bench at hooker.
Cas grabbed four points back in the 33rd minute, James Clare spectacularly diving over by the corner flag albeit off a pass that was two metres forward from half back Jamie Ellis.
The visitors would have hauled back another six points had it not been for a wonderful cover tackle from Rhys Evans on Frankie Mariano after the second rower had broken clear and skirted Matty Russell with ease.
But Evans chased back, covered the ball and held the bigger man up over the line in a remarkable show of defensive skill and strength.
Wolves: Matty Russell; Joel Monaghan, Stefan Ratchford, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Evans; Chris Bridge, Gareth O’Brien; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Ben Harrison, Ben Westwood, Trent Waterhouse, Simon Grix. Subs: Anthony England, Paul Wood, James Laithwaite, Micky Higham.
Tigers: Ben Reynolds; Jordan Tansey, Michael Channing, Ashley Gibson, James Clare; Jamie Ellis, Liam Finn; Andy Lynch, Adam Milner, Scott Wheeldon, Frankie Mariano, Weller Hauraki, Lee Jewitt. Subs: Nathan Massey, Oliver Holmes, Brad Day, Will Maher.
Referee: James Child