Warrington's progress this season has not been a one-man show, but this was a game they had lost when the team sheet was printed without the name of Lee Briers on it.
At the end of a week when he was arrested for drink driving, the Wolves' captain was ruled out when he failed a late fitness test on a shoulder injury. Warrington did not miss his goal kicking against Hull, as Graham Appo landed five out of five in the first half to keep them in touch, but were found badly wanting when it came to penetration and decision making.
Their coach, Paul Cullen, refused to blame Briers' absence for their defeat. "All teams will have star players missing and I wouldn't let them play the victim over that,'' he said. "Our execution didn't warrant a win. We had the field position, but when Hull had a chance they took it.''
Warrington led 10-2 after 15 minutes through three Appo goals and Jon Clarke's try from dummy half, but were second best once their former centre, Toa Kohe-Love, dismantled their defence with the game's most skilful move. He seemed to be bottled up on the right but somehow stepped out of a tackle and slipped a backhand pass for Colin Best to score. His coach, Shaun McRae, called it "classic centre work''.
Warrington were still four points in the lead when Appo put over his fourth goal, but Hull's other Kiwi centre, Richie Barnett, ran on to Chris Chester's pass to give them a lead before half-time that they never looked like losing.
Warrington continued to have plenty of possession and played against 12 men for 10 minutes when Richard Fletcher was in the sin-bin, but they lacked incisiveness.
After Steve Prescott landed his fourth goal, Kohe-Love took Tony Smith's pass to crash over, before Jason Smith's clever pass to Prescott put the result beyond doubt. A Jason Smith drop goal and Prescott's fifth goal set the seal on it, with McRae particularly satisfied by keeping Warrington scoreless in the second half. "It was a war of attrition at times,'' he said. "Our discipline and defence were much improved.''
Warrington: Appo; Grose, Sibbit, Westwood, Gaskell; Noone, N Wood; Fozzard, Clarke, Hilton, Burns, Wainwright, Domic. Substitutes used: Gleeson, P Wood, Guisset, Sturm.
Hull: R Horne; Best, Barnett, Kohe-Love, Prescott; Cooke, J Smith; Logan, T Smith, Greenhill, Maher, Ryan, Chester. Substitutes used: Yeaman, G Horne, Fletcher, King.
Referee: R Smith (Castleford).
* In the shock of the Super League season to date, Huddersfield sent St Helens crashing to their first defeat of the campaign by 36-22 at the McAlpine Stadium. Brandon Costin led the way with a try and four converted goals. Ben Cooper, Anthony Colella, Darren Turner, Paul March, Julian Bailey, and Hefin O'Hare also went over for Huddersfield.
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