Riley keeps Wolves in hunt for second spot

Warrington 36 Hull FC 18
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The Independent Online

Warrington warmed up for the Cup and stayed in the fight for second place in Super League, but they were made to battle hard by Hull. who led twice in the first half.

Unlike Leeds against Catalans, the Wolves were given a real work-out and owed much to the opportunism of their leading scorer, Chris Riley, who scored two fine tries when they were struggling for a foothold.

Warrington rested Lee Briers and Garreth Carvell of their likely Wembley team and there was a slight look of vulnerability about them from the start – the way there often can be the week before the Cup final.

They had almost fallen behind when Lee Radford lost the ball on the try-line and, after nine minutes, they did concede, this time to a superlative piece of finishing from Tom Briscoe.

The England winger took a long pass from Lee Radford, stepped away from Riley and managed to squeeze in right at the corner. Danny Tickle, whose seven goals won last week's controversial game against Crusaders, put over his conversion via a post.

The Wolves' timing was just slightly astray, but Willie Manu's high tackle on Ben Westwood gave them their invitation to respond with a typical wide-ranging back-line move, Louis Anderson's cut-out pass giving Riley just enough room to score. Craig Hall was denied a try by an obstruction ruling from the video referee, but Hull, with fourth place in the table to pursue, hit the lead again as half-time approached. Shaun Berrigan and Craig Fitzgibbon, handling beautifully, put Epalahame Lauaki over after Paul Wood had lost the ball. In the last minute before halftime, however, Riley struck again, this time after Ryan Atkins managed to turn the ball inside as he was taken into touch, Ben Westwood tying up the scores with his second touch-line conversion.

Warrington twice threatened to take the lead for the first time, but Matt King was stopped short and Richie Myler lost control after Atkins shredded the Hull defence.

The Wolves' momentum was building, however, and it became unstoppable when Tickle was sent to the sin-bin for holding down in the tackle to try to slow down another attack.

Two minutes later, Warrington finally hit the front, Westwood and Louis Anderson doing the preliminary work for Jon Clarke to arrive in support and touch down.

Westwood added the goal, followed by a try when he picked up Wood's pass and scudded over the line. Radford got one back for Hull but the Wolves captain, Adrian Morley, removed all doubt when he bulldozed his way over.

Looking ahead to the Cup against Leeds, a relieved Tony Smith, the Warrington coach, said: "I'm glad to report a clean bill of health for Wembley. Although I rested Lee Briers and Garreth Carvell for tonight's game, they'll be OK for Wembley, along with everyone else."

Warrington: Mathers; Hicks, King, Atkins, Riley; Myler, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Harrison, L Anderson, Westwood, V Anderson. Substitutes used Wood, Solomona, Higham, Cooper.

Hull: Hall; Lyne, Turner, Yeaman, Briscoe; Washbrook, Berrigan; Radford, Houghton, O'Meley, Manu, Tickle, Fitzgibbon. Substitutes used Moa, Cusack, Dowes, Lauaki.

Referee I Smith (Oldham).