Wolves' 10-try performance sinks spirited Broncos
Warrington Wolves 54 London Broncos 20
By Alan Domville (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst)
Wolves maintained their challenge at the top end of Super League with a 10-try defeat of London Broncos at The Halliwell Jones Stadium to make up for the disappointment against Widnes at the Stobart Stadium on Good Friday.
An under-strength London made a spirited start and the result remained in the balance at the interval but in the final quarter the Wolves were unstoppable with Stefan Ratchford and Richie Myler creating lots of opportunities.
Tony Smith's rotational policy saw the return of Brett Hodgson, Chris Bridge, Michael Monaghan and Rhys Williams with Chris Riley, Rhys Evans, Micky Higham and Gareth O'Brien sitting this one out.
Tony Rea was forced to rotate more of his players. Coming off a narrow defeat against high-flying Catalan Dragons on Maundy Thursday, his squad included nine players who did not figure in that game: Liam Colbon, Ben Fisher, Alex Hurst, Mike McKeeken, Chris Melling, Scott Wheeldon, Shane O'Grady, Erjon Dollapi and James Woodburn-Hall, the latter two making their debuts.
Among those out of action were Tony Clubb, Jamie O'Callaghan, Mark Bryant, Chris Bailey, Shane Rodney, Luke Dorn, Craig Gower, Daniel Sarginson, Michael Robertson and Tommy Lee.
Warrington made two unsuccessful raids on the London line but the visitors hit back to score first. Chad Randall intercepted in his own half and made 40 metres before being hauled down by Myler. But they were not to be denied, left winger Kieran Dixon finishing the move in his corner.
Warrington were on level terms immediately afterwards, Joel Monaghan catching a kick from the middle by Myler and touching down.
And in the next attack, a break by Hodgson and a neat pass from Myler were finished with Williams racing over in his corner. Hodgson goaled to make it 10-4.
Some speculative passing by London brought them back into the match, Dixon crossing in the corner once again.
A kick-through by Ratchford was collected by Hurst but he lost the ball in the tackle and Bridge scooped the ball up and touched down. Hodgson's conversion made it 16-8.
Wolves could not collect the restart kick giving Broncos a great opportunity to score but the ball was dropped and Wolves returned to the offensive.
Ratchford and Joel Monaghan combined beautifully to leave the visitors' defence flat-footed and sent Bridge over for his second try. Hodgson goaled but the try scorer then limped off so Simon Grix had to come on for another stint .
Another score looked "on" soon afterwards but Hodgson's final pass to Joel Monaghan went straight into touch.
In the next move, Ben Currie chased a kick ahead but could not touch down and London came right back into things when some fine passing created plenty of space for Dixon to race in for his hat-trick. Michael Witt had missed his first two conversion attempts but made no mistake this time and the teams turned round at 22-14.
A fine break by Myler put Wolves in a strong position straight after the restart and Hodgson was able to touch down. His conversion made it 28-14 and the game was safe.
A great break from Currie opened up the defence but he was unable to get the ball away to his support.
From three-quarter time almost to the end Warrington were dominant. A lovely break by Chris Hill enabled Ratchford to go in under the posts and Hodgson's goal made it 34-14.
A sublime pass from Ben Westwood to Myler resulted in Ratchford scoring his second try in as many minutes and another easy conversion for Hodgson.
London lost possession in their next sortie and Myler was able to trigger the next Wolves scoring move, Joel Monaghan going over for his second try.
Warrington were able to retain possession following a towering kick by Westwood and Currie went over to make it 48-14.
A wonderful try by Williams followed a kick to the middle by Joel Monaghan. Myler palmed the ball back to Ratchford who put the winger over. Hodgson kicked his seventh goal of the afternoon.
The last word went to London, however. Randall was grounded on his back but from the next play Erjon Dollapi was able to celebrate his first appearance with a try. Witt added the extras.
First team coach Willie Poching said after the game: "It was an even contest up until half time and there were some areas we needed to improve on. They made us work hard for everything we got; in the second half we persevered with the plan we had and we had to keep going with what we had in mind to do."
Following on from the Good Friday defeat.
"The Widnes game was out of our system on Saturday morning as we had to get our minds back on this job straight away and that will be the case this week; we've got a big one next week that we need to focus on and that's how we work and prepare."
And on this afternoon's performance with a number of players returning to the fold following Friday's game.
"The inclusion of those calibre of players always helps the team out and gives others around confidence but it's about the performance as well. I thought everyone stuck their hand up (today) and I think there were some people who came off the bench in particular who very good for us; Ben Currie and Mike Cooper were especially good for us off the bench, down the middle of the park they sparked us and gave us real energy."
Brett Hodgson, Rhys Williams, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan, Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler, Paul Wood, Michael Monaghan, Chris Hill, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix
Subs: Garreth Carvell, Ben Harrison, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie
Tries: J Monaghan (2), Williams (2), Bridge (2), Hodgson, Ratchford (2), Currie
Goals: Hodgson (7)
Alex Hurst, Liam Colbon, Michael Channing, Chris Melling, Kieran Dixon, Michael Witt, James Woodburn Hall, Matt Cook, Chad Randall, Olsi Krasniqi, Mike McMeekan, Will Lovell, Antonio Kaufusi
Subs: Scott Wheeldon, Ben Fisher, Erjon Dollapi, Shane Grady
Tries: Dixon (3), Dollapi
Goals: Witt (2)
Half Time: 22-14
Full Time: 54-20
Game pictures courtesy of Bob Brough
01, Apr, 2013