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GUARDIAN VERDICT: Hull KR 23 Warrington Wolves 22
WOLVES blew two points and the chance to create a record at Hull KR on Sunday.
Team selection, lack of concentration and poor decision making took their toll.
After leading 22-6 at half time, they lost the plot while playing against the wind and incessant rain and it cost them an eighth win on the trot for the first time in the Super League era.
Sloppy handling led to four knock-ons in their own half in the opening eight minutes of the second period and it was backs against the wall from then on.
With only one prop named on an unusally lightweight bench – and Ben Harrison out of the second-half action with a head injury – Wolves lacked the beef and grunt as well as an adequate kicking game to get themselves out of trouble on the soggy surface.
Two home tries in the 49th and 51st minutes left it ‘game on’ at 22-16 and Wolves seemed intent on pressing the self destruct button as a string of penalties led to a let off when Rovers bombed another ‘try’ in the 63rd minute.
The alarm bells were ringing.
Given the flow of the game and Wolves hardly being able to depart their own half – and with a kicker as talented as Brett Hodgson in their ranks – it seemed crazy not to go for goal moments later when awarded a penalty for offside 15 metres in from the touchline and 20 metres from the Rovers try line.
A successful shot then would have left the Robins needing to score two tries to win.
Wolves went for a try, lost possession almost immediately and four minutes later Craig Hall danced out of three attempted tackles for a score converted by Michael Dobson to tie the game at 22-22.
It was time for drop goal heroics in the vein of Lee Briers’ golden-point ace that broke Rovers’ hearts in the Challenge Cup quarter final of 2009 at the same ground.
But this time Dobson hit the mark five minutes from the end.
An 81st minute one-point attempt from Briers drifted wide, the final hooter sounded and the Wolves players looked dumbstruck as to how they had managed to lose a game which they had controlled brilliantly for 40 minutes.
Third defeat in four visits to Craven Park.
End of Wolves’ seven-match unbeaten run, with the team having still not managed to win eight or more games on the trot since 1993.
Mike Cooper needs one more appearance to make it 100 in his career. He has played 92 games for Warrington, six for Castleford in a 2010 loan spell, one for England Knights against France in 2011.
Wolves have three players in the top five of Super League’s top try chart. Ryan Atkins is second to Wigan’s Josh Charnley with 15, Chris Riley is third on 14 and Joel Monaghan is joint fourth with Leeds’ Ryan Hall on 13.
Hooker Micky Higham needs three tries for his career century from all club and international appearances.
Lee Briers needs three more tries for 150 in all Wolves matches, and is 11 goals away from reaching 1,000 in his club and international career.
Round 16: June 3, 2012 Hull Kingston Rovers...23 Warrington Wolves...22
Shannon McDonnell; Sam Latus, Graeme Horne, Kris Welham, David Hodgson; Craig Hall, Michael Dobson; Mickey Paea, Josh Hodgson, Scott Taylor, Con Mika, Ben Galea, Rhys Lovegrove. Subs: Scott Murrell, Lincoln Withers, Ryan O’Hara, Joel Clinton.
Brett Hodgson; Joel Monaghan, Matty Blythe, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Lee Briers, Gareth O’Brien; Adrian Morley, Simon Grix, Garreth Carvell, Ben Westwood, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Harrison. Subs: Chris Bridge, Micky Higham, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Hill.
O’Brien try, 3mins, Hodgson goal, 0-6; Westwood try, 9mins, Hodgson goal, 0-12; Riley try, 14mins, Hodgson goal, 0-18; Josh Hodgson try, 28mins, Dobson goal, 6-18; Riley goal, 39mins, 6-22; Dobson try, 49mins, Dobson goal, 12-22; Latus try, 51mins, 16-22; Hall try, 67mins, Dobson goal, 22-22; Dobson drop goal, 77mins, 23-22.
Hull KR 10 Wolves 8