Warrington 32 Hull 20: Monaghan turns on style to show Wolves' promise

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The Independent Online

An impressive debut from their new half-back, Michael Monaghan, saw Warrington underline what a force they could be in Super League this season. The former Manly player was at the heart of everything for his new club, in attack and defence, as they proved too potent for a below-strength Hull.

Two other new Australian recruits, Chris Hicks and Matt King, scored their first Warrington tries, while Adrian Morley played a captain's innings with 70 minutes of controlled aggression at prop.

The star of the show, however, was Monaghan, whose involvement if not his stature recalled Allan Langer's stint at the club. Monaghan has been brought in to take some of the weight of playmaking off Lee Briers' shoulders.

Warrington coach Paul Cullen must have been satisfied with his recruitment, but was damping down expectations afterwards: "We're pleased but we're not getting carried away."

The combination of Monaghan and Briers was the key feature of the first two Warrington tries, starting with the one claimed on the right flank by Chris Bridge after 13 minutes. Seven minutes later and after a long period of pressure, they were both involved again in the move that ended with Vinnie Anderson's pass to give Hicks his first Wolves score.

A Hull side lacking seven regulars had hardly seen the ball since taking an early lead through Danny Tickle's penalty, but when they did they tied up the scores with a lucky try. Danny Washbrook put in a speculative long kick, Bridge lost his footing and Craig Hall had an easy score. The game changed, however, in the space of two minutes on the half-hour. More enterprising Warrington play, featuring both half-backs, culminated in Louis Anderson providing the scoring pass for his brother Vinnie.

Then, from the kick-off, Monaghan fed the ball to Kevin Penny, who raced down the left before timing his pass to give King his first Warrington try. King is meant to be there to create for Penny, but it will do equally well the other way around. Again Hull came back, although there was a forward pass before Todd Byrne laid on Hull's second with a slick inside pass.

Warrington took control again when Monaghan's fine pass put Ben Westwood over for their fifth try, with Briers adding his third goal.

Peter Sharp gave 18-year-old Tom Briscoe his debut, but Hull stuck to their job manfully. Six minutes from time Warrington scored again, through Bridges' second, but even then Hull got a Graeme Horne consolation. "Fairly courageous but fairly dumb," was how Sharp described his team. "You can't keep inviting a team like that into your backyard because they're going to pinch your toys."

Warrington: Bridge; Hicks, M Gleeson, King, Penny; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, L Anderson, Westwood, V Anderson. Substitutes used: M Gleeson, Parker, Johnson, Pickersgill.

Hull: Tony; Byrne, Hall, Berrigan, Williams; Washbrook, Lee; Cusack, Houghton, Carvell, Dowes, Manu, Tickle. Substitutes used: King, G Horne, Dale, Briscoe.

Referee: A Klein (London).

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