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PICTURES ADDED: Hull KR 4 Warrington Wolves 34
Warrington Wolves’ unbeaten run increased to six with victory over Hull KR at the KC Lightstream Stadium in Super League Round 16.
Wolves broke the deadlock through Gene Ormsby’s try after a frustrating first half an hour before Stefan Ratchford and Joel Monaghan added scores in quick succession.
Graeme Horne replied after the interval, but tries for Ben Evans, Ryan Atkins and another for Monaghan sealed Wolves’ win.
Mick Weyman, who helped himself to two tries the last time these sides met, forced his way over the Wolves line after Hull had won possession from Bridge’s fumble, but the powerful prop was well held up by a Warrington defence led by Ben Evans in the second minute.
Bridge’s kick rebounded off Jamie Langley on 10 minutes but Matty Russell gathered and set Micky Higham free with the hooker feeding Joel Monaghan, who was stopped 15 metres short.
Bridge picked up from dummy half and weaved his way towards the line, but from Wolves’ play-the-ball the pass went loose with Ben Currie and Monaghan looking to collect before being pulled up for the fourth scrum of the evening.
On the quarter of an hour mark Bridge gathered another loose ball as Hull failed to make the most of a penalty and fed Ormsby.
Ormsby lacked the legs to outpace the covering Robins defence and in an attempt to find a team mate threw a wild pass that was collected by the hosts.
Ryan Atkins thought he had opened the scoring two minutes later when he beat Greg Eden to Simon Grix’s kick, but the full back’s slight touch saw the pair exchange knock-ons and resulted in a Warrington scrum.
With 20 minutes played Wayne Ulugia was penalised and Bridge choose to kick for touch. Wolves worked the ball through the hands of Ratchford, Grix and Atkins before Rhys Evans was stopped short in the left corner.
Bridge’s temper flared as a scrappy half came to a head after he was tackled by Travis Burns and as the sides rushed in to support their respective team mates, Currie, who had an altercation with Ulugia moments earlier, found himself on the floor.
It was Wolves though who continued to look the more likely to score, but with 12 minutes of the half remaining Ben Evans was held up over the line from Higham’s pass.
The home fans were up in arms again moments later when Liam Salter thought he had broken free only to be pulled back for an infringement. From there Wolves worked it left but Atkins was again held up.
However, Tony Smith’s side had the ball back in hand on 32 minutes and when Bridge sent a looping pass wide to Ormsby the winger took off and acrobatically flung himself towards the corner to touchdown one-handed for his eighth try of the season. Bridge converted from a tight angle.
Wolves extended their lead with three minutes of the half remaining when Grix broke from his own half and showed impressive pace and footwork to beat four would-be-tacklers before finding the supporting Ratchford to go between the posts. Bridge added the extras.
Youngster Joe Philbin got his first taste of Super League action when Smith let the highly-rated forward loose with two minutes of the first half to play.
Bridge was the architect as Wolves added gloss to what was a hard-fought first half when the half back found Monaghan for his 17th try of the season before the hooter and then converted.
The hosts’ first chance after the interval came from Kris Keating’s neat grubber, slipping the ball beneath the Wolves line and finding Ade Gardner.
The Saints-loanee thought he had got the necessary pressure to warrant a reply for Craig Sandercock’s side, but referee Ben Thaler judged the winger to have knocked forward in the process.
Sarcastic applause range out from Thaler’s next decision, to award Hull KR the put in at a scrum when Grix parried forward in an intercept, the home crowd making their frustration with the official clear.
The Robins were able to work Weyman into a position to drive at the Wolves line, but the Australian, in the Hull side after a successful appeal on a two-match ban, was held up and lost possession.
However, with 17 minutes of the second half played Rovers did get their reply when Horner hit the line at an angle and was able to reach out to narrow the deficit. Burns failed to add the extras.
And they were close to reducing it further two minutes later when Burns’ lay-off released Eden and the full back broke free and looked to go himself, but the recovering Bridge made an important tackle.
Wolves gifted Rovers another opportunity on 63 minutes when Rhys Evans was called back for obstruction when crossing Bridge inside his own 20.
As the hosts attempted to keep the pressure on Wolves their injury problems looked to take another blow as Jamie Langley collided with Higham and was forced off.
Rovers’ attack came to an end when Bridge charged down and the ball came off his legs, the half back gathered and scooted into the opposition half before Gardner tackled on the cover.
But with eight minutes remaining Wolves made sure of the victory when Ratchford first dummied his way through one tackle before kicking the ball over the defence, only for Eden to knock on Rovers turned to Thaler expecting the official to pull the game back.
Thaler waved play on and Ben Evans, making up one of two sets of twins facing each other in a Super League game for the first time, tackled Eden with his feet and scooped up to go unchallenged between the sticks, leaving Bridge a simple conversion.
Minutes later and Wolves compounded the hosts’ misery when Atkins finished off a move to the right of the posts from closer range for his 10th of the season. Bridge was unable to add to his perfect record.
There was still time for Monaghan to cross for his second of the evening from an interception as the Rovers fans flooded out of the KC Lightstream Stadium, Bridge converted.
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