Atkins turns on style as Wolves take the Shield

Hull 12 Warrington 34

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The Independent Online

Warrington finished top of the table for the first time since 1973 with the sort of high-powered attacking display that has typified their season.

The Wolves' victory made Wigan's simultaneous 42-10 win over Crusaders irrelevant, as their first-half assault made sure of a home semi-final against Huddersfield in the first round of the play-offs next Friday. Ryan Atkins was the star of the show, scoring the first try and creating three more with a sumptuous array of centre skills.

It was Atkins who set the Wolves on their way with an extraordinary try, driving Joe Westerman back in the tackle and then somehow persuading him to part company with the ball. The Hull second-rower made amends by taking a pass from Richard Horne and beating three tacklers for the equalising try, but the rest of the half belonged to Warrington.

A beautiful finger-tip pass from Atkins set up Chris Riley for his first, before Michael Monaghan dummied his way through some lackadaisical defence for another. The rampant Atkins opened Hull up again down the left flank to send Riley over untouched. Hull went further behind when Brett Hodgson broke from deep and Chris Bridge was in support to score.

Hull, playing for the first time since their coach, Richard Agar, was confirmed as the new man in charge at Wakefield, regrouped at the start of the second half. They made inroads through the powerful Westerman's second try, but Atkins and Bridge combined for Joel Monaghan to cross with 10 minutes to play.

There was no League Leaders' Shield to collect at the KC Stadium. That will be handed over next Friday, but, when you have waited 38 years, another week hardly seems to matter.

Hull: Phelps; Whiting, Turner, Yeaman, Briscoe; Horne, Obst; O'Meley, Houghton, Moa, Manu, Westerman, Washbrook. Substitutes used: Radford, Lauaki, Dowes, Sharp.

Warrington: Hodgson; J Monaghan, King, Atkins, Riley; Briers, Myler; Cooper, Monaghan, Carvell, Anderson, Grix, Bridge. Substitutes used: Clarke, Harrison, Solomona, Blythe.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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