Wolves First Half Try Blitz Sinks Tigers
Warrington Wolves 40 Castleford Tigers 24
By Alan Domville (Photo by Neil Ashurst)
Running in five tries in the first 23 minutes and looking red hot, Warrington were assured of leaping the first hurdle towards their ambition to top Super League and to go one step further than last year and earn silverware at Old Trafford in October.
Ben Westwood's first league match in his testimonial year yielded him two tries and his barnstorming performance earned him the man of the match award.
The sensational start rocked the new-look Castleford side back on their heels but they came out fighting in the second period and actually won the half on points.
With the result beyond doubt it may have been that Warrington were happy to leave a little in reserve for next week's tough game at Wigan.
Operating with no new faces this season Tony Smith had only Chris Bridge (injured) and Rhys Williams (on loan to Salford) unavailable for selection.
After finishing 13th in the table last summer Ian Millward acquired the services of Jordan Tansey from York, Lee Gilmour and Keith Mason from Huddersfield, Jake Webster from Hull KR, Michael Shenton from St Helens, Justin Carney from Sydney Roosters and Weller Hauraki from Leeds during the close season and bade farewell to a host of players.
Having said that, 10 players - Ellis, Chase, Owen, Clark, Huby, Walker, Milner, Millington, Holmes and Massey - all played against Warrington last year.
There were just two minutes on the clock when Lee Briers' kick after the fifth tackle saw the visitors concede possession; the ball was swept to the left and Ryan Atkins sent Chris Riley racing over in the corner.
Straight from the restart Simon Grix made a fine break and sent Ryan Atkins charging towards the line. Brett Hodgson, who had missed with his first conversion attempt, added the extras and it was 10-0.
Cas responded by reaching the Wolves line but then lost the ball. A penalty award put Warrington back into the Tigers' half.
The ball was lost and then regained and with six more tackles to go a long overhead pass from Briers enabled Evans to sprint over in the right hand corner. Hodgson's conversion made it 16-0 on 11 minutes.
When the visitors conceded the ball close to their own line Wolves were back on the offensive again and Richie Myler turned on some magic, beautifully weaving his way around three defenders before touching down.
Hodgson landed the goal and Wolves, in theory, were halfway towards the margin of victory that could take them to the top of the table.
From the restart, Warrington then coughed up possession; the defence held firm but a goal line drop out was conceded.
Evans intercepted to win the ball back and after he was held down in tackle the penalty put Wolves into the Cas half yet again. The raid ended with a knock-on but soon afterwards a Briers kick to the corner was kept alive by Joel Monaghan and Evans and Westwood scooted over unopposed. He was able to touch down near the posts to give Hodgson an easy conversion and it was 28-0 on 23 minutes.
Castleford were in dire straits but after being given 15 tackles in succession Justin Carney was able to collect a loose ball and burst through a gap to score. Ellis goaled.
Briers kicked out on the full at the restart but Warrington were soon back on the attack and four minutes from the interval Grix's neat pass to Garreth Carvell enabled the prop to force his way over, Hodgson converting.
There was still time for another score - but it went to Castleford. Michael Shenton raced over and Ellis's conversion made it 34-12 at the break.
Stefan Ratchford took over from Briers in the second half and he was at the centre of the action straight away; his neat kick to the corner almost brought a try for Joel Monaghan.
And Wolves did go further ahead in the 44th minute when Myler served Westwood who crossed almost nonchalantly.
Hodgson's goal made it 40-12 and it looked like Wolves were on the way to the kind of cricket score they had inflicted on the visitors four times in the last two seasons.
But Cas were not going to lie down: another three-set sequence involving three penalties in their favour put Wolves on the defensive and eventually a Weller Hauraki pass enabled Richard Owen to squeeze in at the corner.
There was more to come for the visitors though with a try from Jake Webster. Ellis slotted home the goal from wide out and the visitors' supporters in the west stand at least were not going home totally distraught.
Before the game there was a minutes' applause to pay tribute to Dave Chisnall, club captain from 1974 to 1976, who passed away recently.
Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Evans, Joel Monaghan, Lee Briers, Richie Myler, Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Chris Hill, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood, Ben Harrison
Subs: Garreth Carvell, Trent Waterhouse, Micky Higham, Stefan Ratchford
Tries: Riley, Atkins, Evans, Myler, Westwood (2), Carvell
Goals: Hodgson (6)
Jordan Tansey, Justin Carney, Michael Shenton, Jake Webster, Richard Owen, Rangi Chase, Jamie Ellis, Keith Mason, Adam Milner, Craig Huby, Lee Gilmour, Weller Hauraki, Oliver Holmes
Subs: Jonathan Walker, Daryl Clark, Nathan Massey, Grant Millington
Tries: Carney, Shenton, Owen, Webster
Goals: Ellis (4)
Half Time: 34-12
Full Time: 40-24
Game Pics - Click below.
03, Feb, 2013