Chris Riley led the way with five tries as Warrington yesterday showed exactly why so much is expected of them in Super League this season.
The 21-year-old winger's haul, which included three in five minutes early in the second half, was one short of Lesley Vainikolo's record for the competition. It was merely the spearhead of an invigorating Wolves performance in which they spread the ball wide at every opportunity. They may or may not live up to the glowing predictions for them this year, but they are certainly going to be entertaining. "We've got some pretty good attacking players," said their coach, Tony Smith. "We'd be crazy not to use them in the right way."
They will face a lot sterner challenges this season, however, than they did from a severely depleted Harlequins. Warrington ripped into them from the start, led by their man of the match, Garreth Carvell, and Adrian Morley, playing on an hour's sleep after becoming a father for the second time overnight.
Carvell scored the first try, from a pass from the debutant, Richie Myler, and Richie Mathers exposed the visitors' hesitancy by selling a dummy for the second. Michael Monaghan took a quick tapped penalty for the third, before Smith threw his other new signing, David Solomona, into the fray.
Solomona only lasted 15 minutes before going off with a slight knock, but they were 15 minutes of joy. Three times he assaulted the defensive line and got away his characteristic one-handed passes; three times it resulted in a try on the next phase of the attack, first for Chris Bridge and then, on either side of half-time, for Riley.
The wingman got on the end of typically expansive attacks for two more tries and, after Myler had opened his account, completed his fistful with a touchdown from a visionary kick from the scrum-base by Lee Briers, who also finished with seven conversions.
Simon Grix rounded off the mayhem, leaving Quins' coach, Brian McDermott, to reflect on a chastening experience. "It wasn't about us today, it was about Warrington," he said. "From moment one, we allowed them to be as good as they were – and they were white-hot."
Quins will be unlucky if they have to field as raw a combination again this season, with illness and suspension further stretching limited resources yesterday. For Warrington, it is a matter of managing expectations. They have shown how good they can be and it is just a matter of maintaining that standard and attitude when the opposition is more demanding.
Warrington: Mathers; Riley, Bridge, Atkins, King; Briers, Myler; Morley, Monaghan, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison. Substitutes used: Higham, Wood, Grix, Solomona.
Harlequins: O'Callaghan; Melling, Clubb, Howell, Sharp; Orr, Gale; Williams, Randall, Wilkes, Williamson, Esders, Golden. Substitutes used: Kaye, James, Bryan, Bolger.
Referee: T Alibert (France).Reuse content