WHAT a difference two months makes.

As Warrington Wolves mercilessly swept Hull FC aside at The Halliwell Jones Stadium in April, they were looking as imperious and unstoppable as the Black and Whites were hopeless and lamentable.

Fast forward to Magic Weekend and while it is perhaps a slight overreaction to say the shoe is now completely on the other foot, what can be said for certain is things have taken a turn for the worse.

This game and the defeat at Leigh Leopards that preceded it are typical of how things are at the moment – while their rivals are getting stronger, Warrington are at best plateauing and at worst going backwards.

Being top of the pile naturally puts a target on your back and teams have no doubt been raising their game against The Wire, but their levels have to rise with it.

Relentlessly hitting high standards week after week no matter who is facing you down is a mark of a truly champion side. On this evidence, this Wolves side still have a bit to do on that front.

And perhaps more worryingly, some of what they showed on a stage they hold dear was alarmingly reminiscent of the horrors of 2022.

Whether that was the failure to make the most of the mountain of possession and territory they had in the first half or the inability to soak up pressure on their own line, no Wire fan could be blamed for having chilling flashbacks.

They certainly built enough pressure on Hull to have got out to a significant lead before half time but tried too often to bash the door down as opposed to picking the lock.

Even when it was clear the opposition’s middle was coping with the onslaught, they did not really test their edges until it was too late.

By contrast, Hull found joy whenever they attacked Warrington’s completely changed right side with all bar one of their tries coming in that portion of the field.

The right edge missed 13 tackles between them with Greg Minikin – a big target of many fans’ criticisms – the biggest culprit with seven.

Calls for Connor Wrench to be given a run in his preferred centre role will only grow louder following his two-try return on the wing. His display was one of the only positives to emerge from the game and he has certainly given Daryl Powell a decision to make.

That call is one of a few that may well be keeping the head coach up at night as he looks to steer his side back to the kind of form we know they can produce.

Having been reeled in by the chasing pack and with the season now past its halfway point, it is imperative this malaise is brought to an end quickly.

The possibility of achieving something special this year is still very much alive, but the squad are starting to test the patience of their followers again.