Hodgson and Monaghan show teeth to take hungry Wolves back to the summit

Warrington 28 Huddersfield 16
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The Independent Online

Warrington went back to the top of Super League with a ruthless early demolition of one of their supposed rivals – but almost let them rebuild in the second half.

Just as at Wigan two weeks ago, the Giants were found out and cut down to size by genuinely top-class opposition. They had no answer to the first-half pace and power of the Wolves, for whom the ex-Huddersfield favourite, Brett Hodgson, finished with a try and four goals and Joel Monaghan two tries.

The Wolves were less hungry after the break and let them fight back with three unanswered tries, but the damage had been done.

It was not a game that thrilled either coach. "We had to dig deeper that we should have," said Warrington's Tony Smith. "Huddersfield never stopped trying and they came back with the invitations we kept giving them." But Nathan Brown was "embarrassed" to be dominated for the second time in a fortnight.

Warrington announced the signing for next season of the Leigh prop, Chris Hill, before kick-off as they target another Challenge Cup and a Super League Grand Final place for the first time. Huddersfield are one of the more obvious potential barriers to that ambition, but from the start last night they presented little obstacle to the rampant Wolves. Within five minutes they were 12 points down, with their former captain, Hodgson, largely responsible for punishing their slow start.

It was he who capitalised on Luke O'Donnell's dropped ball for the first try and his astute little kick that saw Monaghan reach it and touch it down to the satisfaction of the video referee.

There was no Lee Briers in the Warrington side, but Richie Myler created a try of which the elder statesman of half-back play would have been proud. A little step and a burst of pace, an exchange of passes with Louie Anderson and the Wolves had their third try.

Matty Blythe delayed a pass to put Monaghan in for his second for a 22-0 half-time lead. However, Warrington became as sloppy as their opponents at the start of the second half and paid the price when Jermaine McGillvary dived onto Michael Lawrence's kick. That encouraged the Giants for them to get over again through David Fa'alogo.

When Kevin Brown went under the sticks 10 minutes from time, the alarm bells were ringing, but Huddersfield could get no closer and Anderson's close-range try from Myler's pass clinched it.

Warrington: Hodgson; J Monaghan, Blyth, Atkins, King; Bridge, Myler; P Wood, M.Monaghan, Carvell, Anderson, Westwood, Simon Grix. Substitutes used: Clarke, Harrison, Cooper, Solomona.

Huddersfield: Cudjoe; McGillvary, Wardle, Lawrence, Hodgson; Brown, Scott Grix; Crabtree, Robinson, Fa'alogo, Horne, Gilmour, O'Donnell. Substitutes used: Mason, Patrick, Ferguson, K Wood.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).