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Wolves ease to victory in The Qualifiers as Westwood joins 400 club

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Pictures Eddie Whitham

WARRINGTON Wolves celebrated Ben Westwood’s 400th appearance with a comfortable 52-24 win over Catalans.

It marks a second straight win in The Qualifiers for Tony Smith’s men, who have eased any worries over their Super League future.

The Wolves took the lead with their first real attack, Peta Hiku offloading for Stefan Ratchford to score.

Tries for Matty Russell and Dec Patton had the Wolves 18-0 up in as many minutes, and the game was virtually done as a contest.

Although Remi Casty pulled one back for the Frenchman, the Wolves were even further ahead at the break thanks to Ryan Atkins and Ratchford.

At 30-6, it was all but damage limitation for the visitors and they never really caused the hosts a great worry.

The closest they came was 18 at 36-18, but the Wolves ended up running in nine tries in victory – Ratchford, Ryan Atkins and Tom Lineham all crossed twice, with Wire’s other tries from Matty Russell, Peta Hiku and Declan Patton, who kicked eight goals.

Krisnan Inu scored twice for Catalans, who also crossed through Casty and Lewis Tierney, while Luke Walsh added four goals.

Veteran England forward Benny Westwood returned from a three-game suspension to make his 400th appearance for Warrington since moving from Wakefield in 2002.

Wolves Head of Coaching Tony Smith said: “The way Benny Westwood performed was instrumental in our good start. He hasn’t played for a month, but he put his hand up and showed his class. He’s tough and uncompromising. I like coaching him and like having him in the team.

“I’m not just mentioning him because it’s his 400th game, but that is a massive achievement in this day and age in a sport like ours.

“Our attack in the first half was as good as we’ve shown this year. The second half was scrappy and disjointed. It was difficult to get into the flow. But overall I’m pleased to get that sort of scoreline against another Super League team.”

Warrington: Ratchford; Russell, Hiku, Atkins, Lineham; Patton, Brown; Hill, Clark, Sims, Jullien, Hughes, Westwood.

Replacements: Philbin, Smith, Savelio, G King.

Catalans Dragons: Tierney; Inu, Garcia, Wiliame, Duport; Walsh, Myler, Moa, Aiton, Casty, Anderson, Horo, Bird.

Replacements: Yaha, Bousquet, Baitieri, Margalet.

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Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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