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GUARDIAN VERDICT: Keighley Cougars 18 Warrington Wolves 44
HOPEFULLY the win against Championship outfit Keighley Cougars will prove to be just what Warrington Wolves needed.
They seemed to get right quite a few areas of their game where they have been showing some weakness this season.
Tony Smith talked about defensive improvements after the previous week’s 44-16 loss at Catalan Dragons.
Less high tackles contributed towards Wolves being on the right side of the penalty count for a change, while a simplified game plan cut down on handling errors and led to less time spent defending.
And, in contrast to the season so far, they got off to a good start and ran in 22 points in the opening 24 minutes to make sure one of the stronger Championship sides got no sniff of an upset like the previous day’s heroics from Featherstone Rovers against Castleford Tigers.
They achieved this turnaround in less training sessions than usual due to the short week following Easter matches and did so with 11 of their star names sitting on the sidelines.
It will be pleasing to Smith that players who stepped in were among the top performers, with Ireland international Tyrone McCarthy being the coach’s choice of best on the field after a determined 80-minute performance at loose forward.
Jordan Burke showed from the start of his debut that he is a solid performer at a higher level, quickly and bravely dropping on a kicked ball as the intimidating Semi Tadulala threatened to strike first blood for Cougars, before feeding Joel Monaghan for the opening try.
And hooker Brad Dwyer enhanced his growing reputation with a third try in four matches in a lively second-half stint.
Lee Briers has now joined the top 10 Warrington Wolves players of all time for the number of starting appearances, with his 376 overtaking George Dickenson’s total accrued between 1900 and 1914.
Third try in four matches for teenage hooker Brad Dwyer.
Only the second start of his senior Warrington career for Tyrone McCarthy.
Lowest attendance for a match involving Wolves since the 2,054 turnout for the Super League game away to London Broncos on August 25, 2000.
Challenge Cup fourth round: April 15, 2012 Keighley Cougars...18 Warrington Wolves...44
Craig Moss; Richie Barnett, James Haythornthwaite, Danny Lawton, Semi Tadulala; Danny Jones, Sam Obst; Andy Shickell, James Feather, Michael Korkidas, Ollie Pursglove, Richard Jones, Paul March. Subs: James Davey, Jamie Shepherd, Jode Sheriffe, Neil Cherryholme.
Jordan Burke; Rhys Williams, Joel Monaghan, Matty Blythe, Chris Riley; Lee Briers, Gareth O'Brien; Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Paul Wood, Ben Westwood, Trent Waterhouse, Tyrone McCarthy. Subs: Brad Dwyer, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Ben Harrison.
Monaghan try, 7mins, Briers goal, 0-6; Westwood try, 14mins, Briers goal, 0-12; Hill try, 18mins, Briers goal, 0-18; Williams try, 24mins, 0-22; Barnett try, 39mins, Jones goal, 6-22; Dwyer try, 47mins, Briers goal, 6-28; Riley try, 53mins, 6-32; Harrison try, 56mins, Briers goal, 6-38; Wood try, 70mins, Briers goal, 6-44; Obst try, 78mins, Jones goal, 12-44; Obst try, 80+mins, Jones goal, 18-44.
Cougars 7 Wolves 11