JOEL Monaghan appears to be settling in nicely at centre, if a star role in Warrington Wolves’ rout of London Broncos is anything to go by.
Monaghan scored four of the 13 tries that sealed Broncos’ fate and confirmed a London-based side will not play in the Super League next season for the first time since its formation.
As for Monaghan, his future could well be away from a more familiar position on the wing, after dictating a young Wolves side on Sunday and winning the praise of boss Tony Smith.
The four tries took his tally to 25 for the season, but it was Monaghan’s organisation and discipline on the pitch that caught Smith’s eye.
Along with Micky Higham the pair had a hand in almost all Wolves’ scores at The Halliwell Jones Stadium in Round 20.
Wolves’ attacking play, while aided by a suspect Broncos defence, was relentless – quick hands and even quicker feet leaving London spellbound.
The visitors were not without fight, Atelea Vea coming to blows with Chris Bridge in the first half, but ultimately their fate had long been sealed before this outing.
Monaghan scored twice inside 15 minutes, adding a hat-trick try before half time after Ben Currie had claimed two of his own and Chris Hill had crossed.
Hill and Currie would go on to claim hat-tricks themselves, Currie’s a product of arguably the game’s most elaborate move involving a Bridge chip, Monaghan take and Matty Russell grubber.
A first half effort from 18-year-old Joe Keyes did, at least, give a handful of travelling Broncos fans reason to believe they may escape the Championship at the first attempt.
But those fans could barely be heard when Scott Moore crashed over after the break, far from the case when Paul Wood marked his return from a lengthy lay-off with a try.
The Halliwell Jones Stadium showed their appreciation for the experienced prop, while a sense of excitement and expectation rang around when 18-year-old debutant Toby King received the ball.
The centre could not ask for a better mentor than Monaghan, who gave the pass for Gene Ormsby to outpace the Broncos defence and score a fine individual try.
Ben Harrison got in on the act before time after Monaghan had added his fourth.
It gave a far from full-strength Wolves side their 10th win in a row and their biggest of the season.
Wolves’ win relegated London Broncos for the first time since the formation of Super League
It was also Tony Smith’s side’s 10th win in a row in all competitions
It is the first time Warrington have won 10 on the bounce since the 1986-87 season
Toby King made his Wolves debut on Sunday, two weeks after brother George, meaning three sets of brothers have featured in the first team this season. The others are Ben and Rhys Evans, Joel and Michael Monaghan.
It is the first time three Warrington players have score hat-tricks in Super League games
The feat has been achieved in three Challenge Cup games, against Swinton Lions in 2011, Brooklands Rovers in 1947 and Normanton SJ in 1912
Super League Round 20 Sunday, July 13, 2014
Warrington Wolves...72 London Broncos...12
Wolves: Matthew Russell; Gene Ormsby, Joel Monaghan, Toby King, Rhys Evans; Chris Bridge, Gareth O’Brien; Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Anthony England, Ben Westwood, Ben Currie, Ben Harrison. Subs: Paul Wood, Glenn Riley, Brad Dwyer, Joe Philbin.
Broncos: Ben Farrar; Jordan Atkins, James Cunningham, Thomas Minns, Denny Solomana; Joe Keyes, Josh Drinkwater; Nick Slyney, Scott Moore, Olsi Krasniqi, Atelea Vea, Alex Foster, Matt Cook. Subs: George Griffin, Will Lovell, Jon Wallace, Erjon Dollapi.
Scoring: Monaghan try, eight mins, 4-0; Monaghan try, 13mins, 8-0; Keyes try, 15mins, Drinkwater goal, 8-6; Hill try, 22mins, Bridge goal, 14-6; Currie try, 25mins, Bridge goal, 20-6; Currie try, 27mins, Bridge goal, 26-6; Monaghan try, 32mins, Bridge goal, 32-6; Currie try, 46mins, Bridge goal, 38-6; Moore try, 50mins, Drinkwater goal, 38-12; Wood try, 56mins, 42-12; Ormsby try, 59mins, Bridge goal, 48-12; Hill try, 62mins, Bridge goal, 54-12; Monaghan try, 67mins, Bridge goal, 60-12; Harrison try, 77mins, Bridge goal, 66-12; Hill try, 79mins, Bridge goal, 72-12.
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow
Penalties: Wolves 6 Broncos 2
Top man: Joel Monaghan