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FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Salford City Reds 4 Warrington Wolves 46
WOLVES racked up their biggest victory this season at Salford City Stadium tonight.
After successive defeats, they adopted a much tighter and patient approach early on that paid off handsomely.
The wild passes and forced offloads all but evaporated, with focus being placed successfully instead on making lots of ground down the middle and dominating the ruck area.
It meant much of the action was played between the two 20-metre lines in the first half but each time Wolves reached the danger area they were clinical.
All the hard work in the opening period took its toll on Salford as the game wore on, allowing Wolves to play more expansively after the break.
But in truth, it got a little scruffy as the rain fell until the final 10 minutes and not as many points were accrued as perhaps might have been against an inexperienced Salford side whose defence lacked the ferocity faced by Wolves the previous week against St Helens.
Two-try Richie Myler was the star of the show against his former club.
As well as taking his career tally to 100 tries, including 53 for Warrington, he had his hands in much of Wolves’ best work in attack.
Chris Riley and Ryan Atkins were also leading beneficiaries with two tries each.
The first try came very easily after four minutes.
On the back of a penalty, Brett Hodgson chimed into the attacking line on the left and fed a short ball to Ryan Atkins who wrestled his way over the line from short range. Hodgson added the extras for 6-0.
A raking 40/20 attempt from Michael Monaghan ended up with Wolves forcing a drop out and it paved the way for try number two.
Again on Warrington’s left, a dinky Richie Myler grubber kick was smartly touched down by Chris Riley in the ninth minute, although Hodgson missed the conversion from the touchline.
Riley bagged his second try in the 26th minute with a determined 30-metre run to the line after scooping up the ball after it had gone loose in a tackle on Hodgson, whose conversion moved Wolves 16-0 ahead.
And then in the final throes of the half, successive penalties proved costly to Salford as Myler dummied to pass and angled his way over from 20 metres against his former club. Hodgson’s kick was the last of the half.
It took only 99 seconds of the second half for Wolves to notch up their fifth try.
Ben Currie blocked a Marc Sneyd grubber kick with his boot and raced 60 metres before being caught.
However, first receiver Myler had a scattered defence in front of him and his long kick to the right corner was perfect for Joel Monaghan’s seventh try of the season, converted by Hodgson for a 28-0 advantage.
Warrington’s hopes of a first ‘nilling’ disappeared in the 53rd minute when replacement hooker Gareth Owen intercepted a Michael Monaghan pass and raced 55 metres to score, just having enough pace to hold off the covering chase from Ben Currie.
You could see in the body language of the Wolves players that a first blank sheet of the year had been in mind.
The best response was to pile up as many points as they could in anger.
A lovely flat pass from Chris Hill allowed Myler to hurtle towards home and Hodgson was on his shoulder to take the pass and ride the tackle of Jack Murphy before touching down his first try of the season in the 58th minute. With the full back’s conversion, Wolves moved 34-4 ahead.
Atkins powered home for his second try in the 72nd minute, with Stefan Ratchford successfully taking over the kicking duties with Hodgson having been replaced by Gareth O’Brien midway through the half.
Fittingly, Myler had the final say with his second try of the night and 100th of his career in the 77th minute and O’Brien notched the extras to send home happy the decent Wolves turnout.
Wolves: Brett Hodgson; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood, Mike Cooper. Subs: Ben Currie, Garreth Carvell, Micky Higham, Gareth O’Brien.
Salford City Reds: Marc Sneyd; Jodie Broughton, Ashley Gibson, Martin Gleeson, Jack Murphy; Theo Fages, Liam Foran; Darrell Griffin, Wayne Godwin, Ryan Boyle, Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon, Lew Jewitt. Subs: Gareth Owen, Jordan James, Vic Mauro, Adam Neal.