Rovers shattered by Wolves second half try blitz
Warrington Wolves 34 - Hull KR 6
By Alan Domville (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst, P&B Pictures)
Tony Smith rested five senior players ahead of next week's Tetley's Challenge Cup Semi-Final against Hull FC but Wolves hit top gear from the start, taking a 12-0 lead after 11 minutes. A physical Rovers then kept their line intact until the 53rd minute but then they caved in, four more home tries putting the issue beyond doubt.
Chris Bridge took the sponsors' man of the match award but there were 16 more heroes in primrose and blue and also outstanding were: Brett Hodgson, faultless at full back; Lee Briers whose kicking game penned Rovers back into their own half for long periods; Garreth Carvell whose off-loading was priceless; Micky Higham who seems to have energy to spare; two-try Ben Currie playing like a veteran; and Brad Dwyer whose dodging and weaving fooled the visitors on several occasions.
Warrington had won 12 of their last 13 matches but with Adrian Morley, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood, Paul Wood and Stefan Ratchford all taking a breather and Richie Myler and Ryan Atkins still unavailable this could have been a banana skin.
But there is plenty of strength in depth at Warrington; how about a bench comprising Ben Harrison, Glenn Riley, Brad Dwyer and Tyrone McCarthy?
Michael Monaghan started the game at scrum half.
Rovers had defeated Wolves 26-12 on Humberside in March and had been unbeaten in their last five Super League games to consolidate a place within the top eight.
Out of action were second rower Cory Paterson, prop Ryan O'Hara and winger Alex Brown with Tyla Hepi and Evarn Tuimavave, Sean Gleeson and Jordan Cox coming into the squad.
Rovers were first to threaten. In their second set, Craig Hall kicked through and Travis Burns just failed to get to the ball - but Wolves conceded a goal-line drop out.
Cue the first Warrington try in the sixth minute. Bridge's first act of brilliance came with a kick through that couldn't be fielded at the back and captain Hodgson was on hand to touch down. Brett added the extras.
Wolves struck again five minutes later when Carvell slipped out a pass in the tackle. Currie was held on the line but the ball was swept quickly to the left and Mike Cooper went over.
Warrington conceded another goal-line drop out soon afterwards and from the resultant set Rovers reduced the arrears with Jordan Cox racing over unopposed. The hard working Michael Dobson converted - but that was all he would score.
Rovers pressed again and Josh Hodgson dived under the posts and claimed a touch down; referee Tim Roby disagreed with him. Another raid ended with Dobson kicking the ball dead.
Hodgson then prevented another certain try by the visitors but unfortunately knocked-on in the process. A monumental defensive effort kept Rovers at bay and soon afterwards a crunching tackle by Bridge brought another raid under control.
The Warrington line finally fell in the last minute of the half but the pass to Burns was ruled forward.
Honours had been pretty even but in the next 40 minutes Warrington gradually became dominant.
Hearts raced when Glenn Riley charged down a Dobson kick after the fifth tackle; no score ensued but Wolves were now in the driving seat, soaking up all that Rovers could throw at them and doing all the running.
A superb dummy by Hodgson set up another scoring opportunity but the move ended with a Briers kick to the corner that couldn't be taken.
Next came a powerful run by Joel Monaghan and the move was continued in style by Briers but once again his kick to the corner didn't yield a try, the play bouncing into touch.
A towering Dobson kick on 53 minutes was retrieved by Warrington and Currie finished off a fine 80-metre move with a try in the right corner. Hodgson's kick floated wide but it was 16-6 and Rovers were rattled, introducing more physicality into their game than was necessary.
A high tackle put Wolves on the offensive again, the penalty by Briers landing in touch 15 metres from the visitors' line. In the subsequent attack Briers battled his way over the line but was forced back, losing his shirt in the process.
Slick passing on 63 minutes saw Chris Riley beat several defenders and touch down near the posts. Hodgson goaled.
Rovers kicked out on the full at the restart to concede possession again and a great break by Dwyer triggered the move that saw Michael Monaghan sell a beautiful dummy before crossing for his try. Hodgson converted; it was 28-6 - and there was still more to come.
With seven minutes to go another fine break by Dwyer led to Currie baffling the defence with a lovely swerving run before touching down. Briers took the conversion to seal the victory which takes Wolves to joint second in the table with Wigan, Huddersfield having beaten Castleford to go top.
Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said: "It was a good, tough first half - not much between the two teams - but in the second half I thought we were pretty dominant and the score line probably backs that up. In the first half I was really, really pleased with our goal-line defence again; it got tested, they threw a fair bit at us and they were pretty solid so to only concede one try in those circumstances was very good.
"I thought our bench was really good; I thought they lifted us - all four of them. They made a difference when they came on.
"All the boys who came in today and did a job didn't do their chances any harm for next week as well. It was positive all round."
Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Rhys Williams, Lee Briers, Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Currie, Mike Cooper
Subs: Brad Dwyer, Ben Harrison, Tyrone McCarthy, Glenn Riley
Tries: Hodgson, Cooper, Currie (2), C Riley, M Monaghan
Goals: Hodgson (4), Briers
Greg Eden, Craig Hall, Sean Gleeson, Liam Salter, David Hodgson, Travis Burns, Michael Dobson, Mickey Paea, Josh Hodgson, Adam Walker, Rhys Lovegrove, Jordan Cox, Constantine Mika
Subs: Lincoln Withers, Richard Beaumont, Tyla Hepi, Evarn Tuimavave
Game photos below. Courtesy of Bob Brough
21, Jul, 2013