Robins End Wolves Unbeaten Run
Hull KR 26 Warrington Wolves 12
By Rachel Arnett (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst)
Warrington Wolves made their second trip to Humberside within the space of a week looking to back up last week's win over the Black and Whites with victory over the side from East Hull.
The Wolves' last trip to Craven Park ended in defeat with the Robins edging the win, 23-22. Last weekend saw Hull KR go down to Salford so the visitors were expecting a response in this round 5 tie in an attempt to upset their unbeaten run.
The Warrington line-up saw the return of Ben Westwood after his one-week suspension and young back-rower James Laithwaite took his place on the bench for his first team debut in primrose and blue. Other changes from last weekend saw Trent Waterhouse, Joel and Michael Monaghan missing from the 17 and Rhys Williams taking a place on the wing.
Changes in the Robins 17 saw Brown, Burns and Griffin in, and Caro, Hall and Walker out of the side that faced Salford last weekend.
The Robins ended the Wolves' unbeaten run. Despite the visitors going in at half time 12-6 in front they were kept scoreless in the second half. There was ill-discipline from both sides with neither looking sharp and it took one team to take their opportunities and gain some momentum; on this occasion it was Hull KR who took control to secure the two points.
The first half saw neither side gaining control of the game with many penalties creeping in.
It was the home side who kicked off the game and the Wolves looked set to get the first points on the board; a penalty for a late shot on Myler gave the visitors good field position and Grix came close, held up just over the line. Higham's kick on the last rolled dead to deny an early score but the start was good.
A penalty at the other end then put Hull KR to within 20 metres and a strong drive forward and quick hands out to the left put David Hodgson over for the opening try on five minutes. The conversion was missed. 4-0
Neither side could gain the momentum needed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck with penalties conceded for slowing down play and holding down at play the ball. Wolves came close through Higham down the left as he opened up space with a dummy. Myler's kick to the corner on the last bounced up away from Williams in the corner to deny a score. Play then switched ends and on 18 minutes the Wolves were penalised in front of the sticks and Hull KR opted to go for goal. Dobson added the two to give the home side a 6-0 lead.
A scrappy first half continued but the visitors were next on the scoreboard. Myler put Grix in for a break down the left but a pass inside went to ground. Fortunately for the Wolves the Robins failed to pick it up cleanly and knocked on to keep Warrington in possession. Ratchford then powered over from 10 metres out with defenders falling off him. Hodgson added the conversion to level the score 6-6.
Despite play then going in Hull KR's favour the Wolves were able to keep them out. From the restart the ball bounced off Myler's foot into the hands of the home side but the defensive line stood strong. Ill-discipline opened up opportunities for the Robins but once they were caught for offside the Wolves capitalised on the resulting penalty. On the half hour mark a high cross-field kick to the left corner was collected well by Atkins who challenged three Hull KR players in the air to claim the ball and touch down for the lead. Hodgson's conversion attempt went through the uprights. 6-12
As half time closed in each side had one final opportunity. The ball ricocheted off the back of Ratchford and he showed skill to turn and collect the ball to give his side the attack. The Robins defence put in a try-saver.
The Wolves were then caught for obstruction and the home side attacked the line from 20 metres out striving for the equaliser. But quick hands to the right saw the ball come free and Wolves responded quickly to collect the ball.
A kick-chase ended the first half with the ball beating chasing players from both sides. Half Time: 6-12
The second half got underway off the boot of Ratchford. The early play was end-to-end with deep kicking by Myler and a strong chase gave the Wolves strong field position, keeping the home side back. Evans came close on 45 minutes after the Wolves were awarded a penalty following interference in the tackle. From 30 metres out play was taken from right to left and Hodgson's grubber kick on the last was just too strong and skipped out of play.
Opportunities then crept in for the home side. A strong break down the left wing was only halted by an intercept from Williams.
Momentum then changed hands and Hull KR broke away. Paterson finished off a period of pressure on the line, finding a gap to walk over for a try. Dobson's kick levelled things at 12-12 on 59 minutes.
A penalty goal then nudged the home side two points in front and from then the Robins took control, capitalising on their opportunities.
The Wolves looked to create opportunities with chip kicks over the defence but it was the kicking game of Hull that resulted in the next score; a deep kick trapped Riley in goal and the set from the drop-out saw quick hands to the left to open up space for David Hodgson's second of the afternoon. 20-12
Three minutes remained but the home side were still in try-scoring mode. Scrappy play saw the home side keep the ball alive keeping the Wolves on the back foot. Brown went over on full time to confirm the win and Dobson's conversion sealed a 26-12 win.
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said after the game: "We weren't sharp enough. We probably didn't start the game in the way we would have liked. There's a cycle that can go against you and once you are in it it's hard to break out of. We did pretty well to fight back into a lead at half time. We lacked a little bit of sharpness there today, not too dissimilar to what we were talking about last week in the first half. Credit to our opponents they were terrific today. They had some things they were trying to get over and they were very desperate this week and it showed in the way they played. Sometimes that's enough, that little bit of desperation and that little bit of sharpness. The ball bounced their way and they made it happen that way too. We knew they'd have had a tough week after last weekend. Word had it that they were up for the game and they were. We needed to be a lot more disciplined and control where we played the game a whole lot better than we did. When you come to Hull KR it's a tough place and you know it's going to be a hostile sort of environment and you're going to be on the back foot quite a lot unless you take good control and unfortunately we didn't do that today. We will lick our wounds and dust ourselves off and get ready for another game for us at home.
"I don't think anyone gave in or didn't put in enough effort it just wasn't on the money and you need to be if you are going to beat anyone in Super League this year."
"Michael Monaghan should be alright for Friday. He probably could have, at a pinch, played today but with a four-day turnaround it was either play today and maybe miss the next couple or don't play today and hopefully play the next couple. We made that decision which we are more than comfortable with, it was right for Michael and the team.
"It was a young team out there for us which was encouraging as is the experience they can gain from those types of games. We only had one overseas player as well which isn't bad going; 16 born and bred in this country and they'll learn a lot from it as well. We often learn some of our best lessons off some of our lesser performances so I expect us to go away and get better for it."
Greg Eden, Alex Brown, Kris Welham, Liam Salter, David Hodgson, Travis Burns, Michael Dobson, Evarn Tuimavave, Josh Hodgson, Rhys Lovegrove, Dale Ferguson, Cory Paterson, Con Mika
Subs: Keal Carlile, Graeme Horne, George Griffin, Mickey Paea
Tries: D Hodgson (2), Paterson, Brown
Goals: Dobson (5)
Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Williams, Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler, Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood, Mike Cooper
Subs:Garreth Carvell, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Currie, James Laithwaite
Tries: Ratchford, Atkins
Goals: Hodgson (2)
Half Time: 6-12
Game Pictures Below (courtesy of Bob Brough)
03, Mar, 2013