Ben Westwood treble gives World Cup nudge

Warrington 68 Salford 10
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The Independent Online

In this World Cup year, there is plenty of competition for places in the England pack, so Ben Westwood's hat-trick of tries was a timely reminder that he remains very much a man in possession.

Westwood, perhaps a little quiet by his own standards so far this season, scored his first two in the opening five minutes, setting the tone for the Wolves' most clinical display this year. "He's been building up to his best," said the Warrington coach, Tony Smith, who saw several other of his stars hit the heights in what soon became a one-sided contest.

"On their day, Warrington could have done that to anyone," said Brian Noble, the man charged with transforming Salford. "When they made a break, they finished it."

Some of that finishing upstaged even Westwood, as when Lee Briers threw a massive pass for Joel Monaghan's try.

The next two came from powerhouse runs by Ben Currie – an 18-year-old forward who surely has an international future if he continues to develop at his current rate.

Salford were also tormented by two of the old boys. Stefan Ratchford and Richie Myler scored a try apiece, had a hand in several others and, in Ratchford's case, kicked 10 goals from 12 attempts in an accomplished full-back display that had Smith hailing him as the natural back-up if anything happened to Sam Tomkins.

The only relief for Salford came in the shape of a try in each half, first from Jodie Broughton and later from Lee Gaskell.

Some of the tries they conceded were embarrassingly soft, but Noble praised Salford's travelling fans for sticking with their team.

The club's owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, had to go over to calm those fans after Michael Monaghan threw the ball into the visiting end after scoring one of the Wolves' second-half tries.

A supporter threw back an empty plastic bottle, but any trouble soon died down.

Like Noble, those fans were disappointed after the progress the team had shown in beating Widnes last week.

Any hopes of an immediate and dramatic improvement under the new regime have been exposed as pipedreams.

"Our job is to get the players we have now doing things a bit better," Noble said.

Warrington: Ratchford; J Monaghan, Grix, Atkins, Riley; Briers, Myler; Wood, Higham, Hill, Waterhouse, Westwood, Currie.

Subs used: Morley, M Monaghan, Carvell, McCarthy.

Salford: Sneyd; Gibson, Gleeson, Gaskell, Broughton; McGoldrick, Fages; Emmitt, Foran, Walne, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild.

Subs used: Godwin, James, Neal, Mauro.

Referee: T Roby