Wolves defeat Wildcats to move into second
Warrington Wolves 26 - Wakefield Wildcats 14
By Dave Whalley (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst, P&B Pictures)
Warrington Wolves moved up to second place in the Super League table, one point behind leaders Huddersfield Giants, with a hard fought yet unspectacular victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolves recalled Michael Monaghan to the side at scrum half in place of the injured Richie Myler and Stefan Ratchford joined him in the halves as Lee Briers misses out; James Laithwaite made his first Super League start for Warrington in the second row and there was also a recall for Tyrone McCarthy who started at loose forward. For Wakefield, Frankie Mariano moved into the centre and there was a place on the bench for ex Wolves Under 20s star Bobbie Goulding who made his Super League debut.
Warrington opened the scoring in the ninth minute when good work by winger Chris Riley saw him cut back in field and manage to offload the ball in the tackle; prop forward Paul Wood picked up and it then found centre Chris Bridge who drew the defender towards him before putting winger Joel Monaghan over in the right corner. The Wildcats hit back seven minutes later when a high kick to the right corner by scrum half Tim Smith saw Mariano outjump the Wolves defence to collect and score wide out.
The Wolves regained the lead midway through the half when a penalty put them deep into Wildcats territory and the ball was swept along the line to full back Brett Hodgson who stepped round the cover to score wide out on the right. Again Wakefield responded, when a lovely short ball from stand off Lee Smith found second row Danny Kirmond and he brushed off three defenders to touch down on the right
Five minutes before the break a fine break by Wolves scrum half Michael Monaghan split the Wildcats defence and took him towards the try line; when his inside ball cannoned off a Wakefield defender hooker Micky Higham was the quickest to react to touchdown under the posts. Stand off Stefan Ratchford converted to make the half time score 14-8 to the Wolves.
The Wolves increased their lead thirteen minutes into the second half when a couple of quick play the balls had the Wildcats defence stretched and the ball was swept wide to centre Chris Bridge who put Joel Monaghan over in the right corner. Almost immediately, a great inside ball from Hodgson sent second row Ben Westwood racing through a huge gap and he found Bridge who scored in the right corner.
The Wildcats got themselves back into the game on the hour when winger Liam Kay intercepted a loose Wolves pass and raced sixty five metres unopposed to score at the right of the posts. Lee Smith added the conversion but then when the visitors were caught offside it allowed the Wolves to put pressure on their line and swift hands stretched the Wakefield defence allowing Riley to score in the left corner.
Man of the Match Joel Monaghan was denied a hat trick in the closing stages but it didn't have any effect on the final result as the Wolves recorded a 26-14 win that keeps them in the hunt for the League Leaders Shield.
Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said: "It was a scrappy old game. I thought both teams were scrappy; the whole affair was. We had some glimpses of nice stuff and passages of play that were good but not enough of them for our liking. I thought we defended pretty well most of the time against a team that can throw something at you. We conceded an intercept and a try off a kick which we can live with...I thought we controlled them pretty well defensively most of the time.
"We had some new combinations today so it was bound to be a bit scrappy but hopefully we can improve on that on Thursday. Fortunately we get to turn that around quickly.
"I don't think there were too many stand outs today from our team; some people were solid. I don't think there's too many of the players punching the air with their own performances today but overall it was enough. We want to improve. We've got three games in twelve days so it's a little bit of that ‘middle game'; you roll your sleeves up and try to get it punched out."
Brett Hodgson, Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Simon Grix, Chris Riley, Stefan Ratchford, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Ben Westwood, James Laithwaite, Tyrone McCarthy.
Subs: Trent Waterhouse, Ben Harrison, Ben Currie, Brad Dwyer.
Tries: J. Monaghan (9 mins, 53), Hodgson (20), Higham (35), Bridge (56), Riley (66).
Goals: Ratchford 1 from 5; Bridge 0 from 1
Richard Mathers, Liam Kay, Reece Lyne, Frankie Mariano, Ben Cockayne, Lee Smith, Tim Smith, Andy Raleigh, Paul Aiton, Kyle Amor, Ali Lauititi, Danny Kirmond, Kyle Trout.
Subs: Danny Washbrook, Oliver Wilkes, Bobbie Goulding, Taulima Tautai.
Tries: Mariano (16 mins), Kirmond (27), Kay (60)
Goals: L. Smith 1 from 3
Game pictures below courtesy of Bob Brough
10, Aug, 2013