CHAMPION teams patiently trade blows with their most stubborn rivals and then dig deep to find another gear.
That sums up Warrington’s hard-earned victory on a bitterly cold night at the KC Stadium.
They were trailing 6-4 until the 57th minute but then four well-worked tries in 13 minutes blew the Airlie Birds away.
Tony Smith’s men are forming good habits as Super League XVIII warms up, patience and nerve again the contributing factors to success.
While they were controlled and clinical in establishing a 16-0 first-half lead against Catalan a week earlier – and not panicking during a fightback – this time they showed faith in their processes and made it count when they built pressure on a tiring Hull defence.
Leading beneficiaries were wingers Joel Monaghan and Chris Riley with two tries apiece, while the best of the night was started by Michael Monaghan inside his own half and finished off by supporting Micky Higham for his 100th career try.
Although Smith aired concern afterwards that some of his men were not quite at the races in the first 40 minutes, it was pleasing then that Wolves showed they can put issues right during a game rather than in the next training session.
Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby felt the teamwork was the difference in the second period, although he highlighted workaholic Simon Grix and a sharp Michael Monaghan for telling contributions.
In the absence of first-choicers Adrian Morley, Ben Harrison and Ben Westwood from the pack, Paul Wood’s busy and effective 50 minutes without a break on his 300th appearance was not lost on Smith.
The half-back relationship between the former Salford boys Richie Myler and Stefan Ratchford continues to develop during Lee Briers’ enforced spell on the sidelines, with both having a hand in tries and general orchestration.
Despite the positives in performances from the unbeaten start to difficult opening fixtures, we are yet to see the best of a Wolves team that is showing willingness to tough it out.
That is the most encouraging and pleasing aspect for the months ahead.
Paul Wood’s 300th appearance for Wolves.
Micky Higham’s 100th career try on his 101st Wolves appearance.
Chris Riley’s 150th Wolves match, with his brace of tries taking his tally to 103.
Chris Hill made his 200th career appearance, 37 of which have been for Warrington.
Joel Monaghan has scored a brace in each of his last three matches, taking his count to 65 in 61 games.
Attendance of 10,712 was almost 2,000 lower than last year’s figure for the same game, although that one was not televised.
Richie Myler needs two tries for a career century of touchdowns. Failing to score at Hull means he no longer holds the game’s longest run of tries in consecutive matches.
One more try for Ben Westwood to clock up his 100th in primrose and blue.
Lee Briers needs two tries for his Wolves 150
Super League Round 4
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Hull FC: Shannon McDonnell; Tom Lineham, Ben Crooks, Kirk Yeaman, Tom Briscoe; Aaron Heremaia, Richard Horne; Mark O'Meley, Danny Houghton, Andy Lynch, Ben Galea, Joe Westerman, Chris Green. Subs: Danny Tickle, Jay Pitts, Paul Johnson, Richard Whiting.
Wolves: Brett Hodgson; Joel Monaghan, Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Simon Grix, Trent Waterhouse, Mike Cooper. Subs: Micky Higham, Garreth Carvell, Ben Currie, Tyrone McCarthy.
Scoring: Riley try, 3mins, 0-4; Westerman try, 10mins, Crooks goal, 6-4; Joel Monaghan try, 57mins, Hodgson goal, 6-10; Riley try, 63mins, 6-14; Higham try, 66mins, Hodgson goal, 6-20; Joel Monaghan try, 70mins, 6-24; Crooks try, 75mins, 10-24.
Pens: Hull 4 Wolves 5
Referee: Phil Bentham
Top man: Simon Grix