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GUARDIAN VERDICT: Warrington Wolves 40 Hull FC 18
Michael Monaghan made his Super League return after 12 weeks on the sidelines. Pictures by Mike Boden
WOLVES’ ability to hold their nerve under pressure was among the team qualities on show as their record moved on to nine wins from their last 10 outings.
After starting the first half slowly and falling behind 10-0 and 16-6, there was no panic in the ranks.
Audacious passes were not being forced, like earlier in the season, as they chased the game and they did not start to become frustrated which can often be indicated by giving away penalties.
They backed their abilities to come good.
And, after clawing their way back to 18-18 at half-time, they found a Hull side that lost Willie Manu to the sin bin for 10 minutes could not live with them when they clicked up a few gears.
Stefan Ratchford’s sterling kick return work from full back and Michael Monaghan’s long-awaited comeback from injury were among the highlights.
Having finishers like Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley and Joel Monaghan in your side and engineers like Lee Briers and Gareth O’Brien conjuring up opportunities means there is plenty of reason to be confident even if everything does not go to plan.
On this occasion Atkins was the hat-trick hero and his boss Tony Smith was spot on with his appraisal of the England centre’s explosive skill when he said afterwards that it looked like someone had pressed the fast-forward button when Atkins received the ball.
He now joins his regular winger Riley, who bagged one against Hull, on 20 tries in what has to be the most lethal left-sided partnership in Super League, while defences have to remain stretched in order to counter the threat on the right flank of Monaghan, whose 19th try of the season took him to 49 in 45 games.
Two disallowed tries for Monaghan left him shy of reaching 50 in one game less than legendary Brian Bevan achieved, and being left out of the trip to Salford means he can not equal the record either.
Ryan Atkins’ fifth hat-trick in three seasons since signing from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Lee Briers needs two more tries for 150 in all Wolves matches. He is currently on 1,000 goals for the club, made up of 930 place kicks (conversions and penalties) and a club record 70 drop goals.
Hooker Micky Higham needs three tries for his career century from all club and international appearances
Round 18: June 24, 2012 Warrington Wolves...40 Hull FC...18
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, Ben Currie.
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.
Yeaman try, 5mins, 0-4; Manu try, 9mins, Tickle goal, 0-10; Atkins try, 12mins, O’Brien goal, 6-10; Westerman try, 22mins, Tickle goal, 6-16; Riley try, 33mins, O’Brien goal, 12-16; Atkins try, 38mins, O’Brien goal, 18-16; Tickle penalty goal, 40+mins, 18-18; Briers try, 50mins, O’Brien goal, 24-18; Atkins try, 63mins, O’Brien goal, 30-18; Carvell try, 69mins, O’Brien goal, 36-18; Joel Monaghan try, 76mins, 40-18.
Wolves 15 Hull 8