Westwood rallies Warrington to take over at the summit
Warrington 42 Hull KR 10
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Halliwell Jones Stadium
Monday 27 February 2012
Warrington went top of Super League, ultimately dominating Hull Kingston Rovers despite a wobble in mid-match. Pulled back to 18-10, the Wolves changed gear to draw away, with Chris Riley, Ben Westwood and Ryan Atkins all finishing with two tries.
"We made tough work of it," their coach, Tony Smith, admitted. "We scored a couple of spectacular tries and thought we could do that all day"
The Hull KR coach, Craig Sandercock, said: "At 18-10 I thought we might sneak it, but some very inept defence by us exacerbated the scoreline."
Both sides had a key player back; Brett Hodgson, for the first time this season, for Warrington, and Michael Dobson, well ahead of schedule from a shoulder injury, for Rovers. Hodgson's main contribution in the first half was as a goalkicker, with three conversions, none of them easy.
After 13 minutes, it was Atkins who did the damage, some fancy footwork out on the left leaving the defence for dead. Richard Myler was in support and his pass put Riley over in the corner. On the other side of the pitch nine minutes later, Chris Bridge's acceleration and power had very much the same effect and the Wolves had established control.
They were even more firmly in command when Trent Waterhouse stood in the tackle to get the ball out to the supporting Myler, whose floated pass released Atkins. Like a lot of what the Wolves had done in the first half, it was all a bit too easy.
Warrington got a little too clever with the ball for their own good after the break and they paid the price when Rovers scored a try that summed up the mix-and-match nature of their side. It was begun by Craig Hall, an outside back playing stand-off and, after Josh Hodgson provided the link, finished by Rhys Lovegrove.
When Hall added the second, from Hodgson's break, the alarm bells were not exactly ringing, but there was a faint tinkling of what might have been. If Dobson's first conversion had not hit the bar, the Robins would have been within one score. They had done enough to galvanise Warrington, who made the game safe once more when Atkins passed to Riley. They then ran away with it in a last, Westwood-inspired seven minutes, during which time the second-rower scored twice himself and helped the outstanding Atkins to another, with Hodgson maintaining his flawless kicking to the end.
Warrington: B Hodgson; Riley, Bridge, Atkins, J Monaghan; Briers, Myler; Morley, M Monaghan, Wood, Waterhouse, Westwood, Cooper. Substitutes used: Ratchford, Carvell, Hill, Blythe.
Hull Kingston Rovers: McDonnell; Hall, Welham, Webster, Latus; Lovegrove, Dobson; Clinton, J Hodgson, Paea, Mika, Horne, Watts. Substitutes used: Carlile, Taylor, Wheeldon, Netherton.
Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).
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