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GUARDIAN VERDICT: Warrington Wolves 42 Hull KR 10
THERE is rarely a post-match press conference that goes by without Tony Smith lauding the commitment and attitude of second row powerhouse Ben Westwood.
It even became somewhat of a running joke last year, with the assembled journos waiting for one of their ranks to ask the question that would prompt Smith to start his weekly homage to the tireless tackling machine.
Last week was no different, except perhaps the reason why Westwood’s name was mentioned.
The 30-year-old touched down his 100th and 101st career tries against Hull KR on Sunday, a wonderful milestone for a player not often in the headlines for his scoring prowess.
But it is only when you find out that Westwood’s quickfire brace came while he was suffering from a bout of flu that you begin to see why Smith loves having a player like Westwood in the team.
His determination to play, to give his all for his team regardless of the effects on himself, is priceless.
Luckily for Smith that attitude was shown across the board in Wolves’ defeat of the Robins on Sunday, with his side called to repel a fair amount of KR possession near their own line after handling errors left them in a few tight spots.
No one shirked responsibility, both with the ball and without, and Chris Riley’s excellent showing on the wing typified a battling spirit that was needed by the hosts until the final 10 minutes, when Westwood’s double all but sealed another comfortable victory.
The return of full back Brett Hodgson was also a welcome sight after several weeks without the experienced playmaker.
Ratchford deputised well in his absence, but Hodgson’s calm influence on the game and deadly accuracy with the boot was a timely reminder of what Wolves have been lacking without him on the field.
Ben Westwood scored his 100th and 101st career tries with his brace against Hull KR on Sunday.
After two more tries against the Robins at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Ryan Atkins needs just one more to reach a career century of touchdowns. His tally of 99 features 49 for Wakefield, 45 for Warrington and five for England. Atkins has got a prolific record against Bulls, scoring 10 tries in his last five appearances against Mick Potter’s side.
Tony Smith’s side have now racked up 14 Super League matches without defeat.
This weekend’s trip to Bradford Bulls will mark Tony Smith’s 100th game in charge of Warrington Wolves.
Wolves have not lost on the road at Odsal since the 23-10 defeat on March 16, 2008.
Round 4: February 26, 2012 Warrington Wolves...42 Hull KR...10
Brett Hodgson; Chris Riley, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan; Lee Briers, Richie Myler; Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Mike Cooper. Subs: Stefan Ratchford, Garreth Carvell, Chris Hill, Matty Blythe.
Shannon McDonnell; Craig Hall, Kris Welham, Jake Webster, Sam Latus; Rhys Lovegrove, Michael Dobson; Joel Clinton, Josh Hodgson, Mickey Paea, Constantine Mika, Graeme Horne, Liam Watts. Subs: Keal Carlile, Scott Taylor, Scott Wheeldon, Jason Netherton.
Riley try, 14mins, Hodgson goal, 6-0; Bridge try, 23mins, Hodgson goal, 12-0; Atkins try, 34mins, Hodgson goal, 18-0; Lovegrove try, 44mins, 18-4; Hall try, 57mins, Dobson goal, 18-10; Riley try, 63mins, Hodgson goal, 24-10; Westwood try, 74mins, Hodgson goal, 30-10; Westwood try, 76mins, Hodgson goal, 36-10; Atkins try, 79mins, Hodgson goal, 42-10.
Wolves 7 KR 10