Warrington 32 Wigan 20: Mathers and Wigan are thrown to Wolves

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The Independent Online

It is the Wolves who are keeping pace with the leading pack in Super League after a convincing victory in a match that saw the Wigan full-back, Richie Mathers, sent off for a wild high tackle on Matt King.

That was merely the most blatant penalty in a game punctuated by Steve Ganson's whistle, but Warrington were always the team more in control.

A couple of early penalties put Wigan under immediate pressure and led to the game's first try when Michael Monaghan's superb pass gave Vinnie Anderson a clear channel to the line.

With penalties coming at the rate of almost one a minute in the first quarter, it was hard for the game to develop any flow, but it was the Wolves who were playing all the incisive rugby and they deservedly extended their lead in the 17th minute.

Again Monaghan figured, providing the link when Louie Anderson slipped the ball out of the tackle, sending it to King, who wrestled his way over.

Referee Ganson's patience finally snapped after 22 minutes when he sent Louie Anderson to the sin-bin for holding down in the tackle. Warrington carried the one-man handicap well for almost 10 minutes, until Adrian Morley's knock-on conceded possession and Liam Colbon got in at the corner courtesy of a vintage Trent Barrett pass.

Super League's leading try scorer Chris Hicks was forced into touch when he looked certain to score a third for Warrington. But a minute later Monaghan gained massive amounts of ground with a penalty kick to touch and Morley's pass sent Rob Parker ploughing over. Lee Briers' second goal completed a 12-point half-time lead .

Wigan's Michael McIlorum became the second man sin-binned, again for holding down, five minutes after the restart. Far worse was soon to follow with Mathers dismissed permanently for a flailing high tackle on King. The Australian Test centre was treated on the pitch for over five minutes before being carried off in a neck brace with concussion. When play resumed, the 11 men could not hang on for long and Martin Gleeson extended Warrington's lead.

Magnificent handling by Monaghan and Vinnie Anderson paved the way for Paul Johnson, preferred on the left wing to the whizz kid, Kevin Penny, and justifying the selection with a strong performance throughout. Andy Coley got one back for Wigan on the hour after yet another flurry of penalties, but Hicks soon got a second for the Wolves.

Darrell Goulding and Harrison Hansen got further token efforts for the well-beatenWarriors, but that did little to disguise their disarray.

Warrington: Reardon; Hicks, Martin Gleeson, King, Johnson; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, L Anderson, Westwood, V Anderson. Substitutes used: Mark Gleeson, Parker, Pickersgill, Bracek.

Wigan: Mathers; Colbon, Goulding, Carmont, Richards; Barrett, Leuluai; Paleaaesina, Higham, Coley, Hock, Bailey, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: McIlorum, Fielden, Hansen, O'Carroll.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).