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FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Warrington Wolves 40 Hull FC 18
Lee Briers and Stefan Ratchford congratulate Ryan Atkins after one of his three tries against Hull FC. Pictures by Mike Boden
WARRINGTON Wolves maintained second spot in Super League after overhauling a lively Hull effort with a disciplined second-half showing at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Hull’s tactics of slowing down the play-the-ball area led to them suffering the wrath of referee Ben Thaler to the tune of a 13-6 penalty count against them and it took its toll during the second period.
Wolves, who had fought back from 10-0 and 16-6 at stages of the first half to turn around all square at 18-18, had got their noses in front by the time Willie Manu was sent to the sin bin for Hull’s persistent offending.
Tries from Ryan Atkins, his third of the game, and Garreth Carvell during Manu’s 10 minutes off the field made sure of Wolves’ winning points before going on to ‘nil’ the Airlie Birds in the second half.
Wolves did their best to find a way of Joel Monaghan breaking Brian Bevan’s record of scoring 50 tries in the fewest number of games but although the Australian winger crossed three times only one counted and he was one try short at the end of the 80 minutes.
Monaghan, now on 49 tries in 45 games, could still equal the record by scoring against Salford on Friday.
Hull, with a strong wind behind them and very fast off the mark in defence, struck first on the back of Wolves losing possession on their own 40-metre line.
The visitors counter attacked quickly and Wolves were stretched for the next few tackles, with Manu eventually putting Kirk Yeaman over with a basketball-style pass over the top of Joel Monaghan.
Danny Tickle was wide with the touchline conversion attempt but it was 4-0 after five minutes.
In the first set from the re-start, smart handling set Tom Briscoe free down the left flank and as Stefan Ratchford came across to block his path the England wing man supplied Manu on his inside. This time Tickle hit the mark to make it 10-0.
The rate of a try per set continued but this time Wolves turned defence into attack on the back of Garreth Carvell charging down Brett Seymour’s clearance kick.
Ryan Atkins regathered the loose ball, danced out of Matty Russell’s attempted challenge and raced home from 30 metres. Gareth O’Brien’s extras cut the gap to four points with 12 minutes played.
Hull’s lying on tactics at the play-the-ball cost them a succession of penalties and they nearly paid for it when Joel Monaghan scorched over in the corner in the 20th minute but Thaler brought play back for a forward pass from Chris Bridge.
Hull, on the back of a penalty for offside, went to the other end and restored their 10-point lead.
Some sloppy defence left a gaping hole for Joe Westerman to gallop home from a pass supplied by Richard Horne. Tickle made no mistake with the boot for 16-6 after 22 minutes.
Michael Monaghan replaced Micky Higham and immediately stamped his own brand of dummy-half play on the game as Wolves looked to disrupt the Hull defence and get on the front foot again.
Then Ben Currie arrived on the field just in time to see a great finish from Chris Riley as he put Wolves back on track.
Riley had three covering defenders to beat when Atkins fed him the ball but he backed his pace and strength to squeeze in at the corner from 20 metres. O’Brien’s extras left Wolves 16-12 behind after 33 minutes.
Then a lovely pinpoint long pass from O’Brien gave Atkins the space to speed home and level the scores in the 38th minute. The scrum half’s second successful touchline conversion put Wolves ahead for the first time at 18-16.
A Tickle penalty goal in the seventh minute of added-on time left it all square for the break.
Lee Briers weaved a route to the line in the 50th minute to put Wolves in front again and O’Brien’s extras from close to the sticks made it 24-18.
Riley thought he was on his way to his second try a few minutes later but a forward pass spotted by the touch judge in the build-up ruled out the effort.
Persistent offending by Hull in defence eventually led to Manu being sent to the sin bin in the 58th minute and Wolves looked to take immediate advantage.
An inside pass from Briers gave Ratchford room to manoeuvre but as he tried to avoid two challengers and stretch out to score he dropped the ball.
Ratchford was able to turn provider though in the 63rd minute when his last-ditch offload out of a tackle paved the way for Atkins to kick his heels and explode away for his hat-trick try. O’Brien’s conversion put Wolves 30-18 in front with 63 minutes played.
Stretching Hull again, Wolves broke away down the right and Bridge sucked in two defenders brilliantly to send Joel Monaghan over but the winger was denied for a second time in the game due to a forward pass.
The second try of Manu’s absence was only moments away, though, as Briers sent Ben Harrison flying through a hole and his lovely reverse flick pass allowed supporting Carvell to canter home. O’Brien’s boot took the score on to 36-18 after 69 minutes.
Joel Monaghan finally got over the whitewash in the 76th minute, getting on the end of an overlap on the right to clock up the team’s 40 points and conclude the scoring.
One unusual feature of the game was Wolves’ selection changes on the bench.
Eighteenth man Matty Blythe was called in as a late replacement for Currie, who suffered a ‘twinge’ during the warm-up, but the change was not made early enough according to the game’s rules.
Therefore, Currie took the spot as initially announced and figured in the back row either side of half time.
Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Lee Briers, Gareth O’Brien; Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Garreth Carvell, Trent Waterhouse, Mike Cooper, Ben Harrison. Subs: Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Tyrone McCarthy, Matty Blythe.
Hull: Matty Russell; Ben Crooks, Jordan Turner, Kirk Yeaman, Tom Briscoe; Richard Horne, Brett Seymour; Sam Moa, Richard Whiting, Andy Lynch, Willie Manu, Danny Tickle, Joe Westerman. Subs: Jay Pitts, Aaron Heremaia, Liam Kent, Martin Aspinwall.