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GUARDIAN VERDICT: Hull KR 26 Warrington Wolves 12
DEFEAT to Hull KR may have been a case of one injury too far for Warrington Wolves.
The steady drip, drip of operations, knocks, bumps and bruises keeping players out of action has built up over the past few weeks, and with Tony Smith erring on the side of caution with Michael Monaghan’s fitness ahead of the visit of St Helens tomorrow, Friday, it seemed that the team’s play suffered.
It did not help that the Robins had a point to prove after throwing away victory against struggling Salford a week earlier, or that the Wolves players on display were not at their most fluent, especially in attack.
With Warrington already coping with the loss of Adrian Morley, Lee Briers and Ben Harrison, the injuries to pivotal playmaker Michael Monaghan, top try scorer Joel Monaghan and tireless second row Trent Waterhouse were just too much to soak up.
KR targeted Wolves’ right wing with devastating results, with three of their four tries coming on the flank where the returning Rhys Williams and Rhys Evans had been paired up for the first time this season.
And the absence of Briers combined with that of Michael Monaghan resulted in Wolves lacking attacking bite, demonstrated by the hosts keeping them to nil in the second half without much of a struggle.
Few of Wolves’ ranks stood out in a lacklustre performance, but Stefan Ratchford’s try and his assist for Ryan Atkins’ score were enough to put him ahead of the rest and ensure his team turned around at the break with a flattering 12-6 lead.
It is also noteworthy that second row James Laithwaite earned his first Super League appearance for Wolves against the club for whom he had made his SL debut while on loan last season.
Disgruntled fans may be annoyed to have travelled a large distance to watch their side underperform from their side, but it is fair to say that defeat of fierce rivals St Helens on Friday - assisted by a returning playmaker like Michael Monaghan - would quickly ensure this defeat will be banished to the footnotes of the 2013 season.
Richie Myler needs two tries for a career century of touchdowns.
One more try for Ben Westwood to clock up his 100th in primrose and blue.
Lee Briers needs two tries for his Wolves 150.
Second time in consecutive seasons Hull KR have fought back from a half time deficit to beat Warrington Wolves at Craven Park.
James Laithwaite made his Super League debut for Wolves, against a Hull KR side that handed him his first Super League start while on loan last year.
Rhys Williams returned from a month-long loan spell at Salford City Reds to fill in for the injured Joel Monaghan.
Ryan Atkins will make his 100th club appearance for Warrington Wolves against St Helens tomorrow, Friday.
Super League Round 5
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Hull KR: Greg Eden; Alex Brown, Kris Welham, Liam Salter, David Hodgson; Travis Burns, Michael Dobson; Evarn Tuimavave, Josh Hodgson, Rhys Lovegrove, Dale Ferguson, Cory Paterson, Con Mika. Subs: Keal Carlile, Graeme Horne, George Griffin, Mickey Pea.
Wolves: Brett Hodgson; Rhys Williams, Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler; Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood, Mike Cooper. Subs: Garreth Carvell, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Currie, James Laithwaite.
Scoring: David Hodgson try, 5mins, 4-0; Dobson penalty, 18mins, 6-0; Ratchford try, 24mins, Hodgson goal, 6-6; Atkins try, 32mins, Hodgson goal, 6-12; Paterson try, 58mins, Dobson goal, 12-12; Dobson penalty, 63mins, 14-12; Hodgson try, 76mins, Dobson goal, 20-12; Brown try, 80mins, Dobson goal, 26-12.
Pens: Hull 7 Wolves 9
Referee: Robert Hicks
Top man: Stefan Ratchford