Wolves hit rock bottom


in Jungle circus


by Gary Skentelbery


WARRINGTON Wolves hit rock bottom as they crashed to their fifth straight defeat - the worst run since Paul Cullen became head coach.
Cullen was furious with referee Steve Ganson after his side's 52-26 defeat to Castleford accusing the referee of contributing to the late chaos which saw four players leave the field as tempers reached boiling point.
He was also angry that the refree failed to consult the video referee when the Tigers winger Waine Pryce appeared to have bounced the ball when scoring just a minute into the contest.
Paul Wood and Ryan McGoldrick both saw red for fighting, just moments after Gray Viane and Ben Westwood had been sent to the bin for a similar offence.
"I thought the game was out of control from the moment Pryce's try was awarded without the courtesy of going to the video referee,” raged Cullen. “The game turned into a circus on the back of it.
"I am disappointed with the vast majority of what I've seen over the 80 minutes. The game had desperation and panic about it.
"Michael Sullivan's 80 minutes at hooker and the form of Mike Cooper, a 17-year-old prop on his debut, offered a glimmer of hope in what has been a nightmare of a day. We look like a group that is missing five of its best players."
But the real circus act was Warrington's defence which leaked nine tries to the relegation favourites.
A mistake on the opening kick-off allowed the Tigers to get their tails up and the referee decided Waine Pryce had dropped on top of a grubber kick to score, although television replays suggested the winger had bounced the ball down.
Another Warrington turnover allowed Willie Manu to sidestep his way over and Danny Brough crowned a dream start for Cas by pouncing on a loose ball to go in under the posts after Stuart Reardon had allowed a high kick to bounce.
At 16-0 down the Wolves suddenly realised they were off the coach and kicked into gear and answered back with two tries of their own through Rob Parker and Brent Grose.
A 40-20 from Lee Briers then seemed to put the visitors in striking distance for another, only for the television official to reverse the referee's decision and let Castleford off the hook.
Richard Fa'aoso made the most of excellent field position to crash his way over, only for Reardon to reply with a try for Warrington that cut the gap down to eight points.
But that proved to be as close as Warrington got before they crumbled to a heavy defeat.
Peter Lupton scored a try either side of the interval and with Brough converting both, Cas found themselves in total control.
The goal kicker then showed his ability kicking out of hand with a 40-20 that led to Michael Platt going over.
That was quickly followed up by a try for Adam Fletcher as he reeled in McGoldrick's kick to the corner to rub salt into Warrington's wounds.
With the game over as a contest the late action came mainly off the ball as tempers flared in the sunshine.
Referee Ganson decided to issue two red cards to try and calm things down as several players went toe-to-toe.
Michael Shenton did go over to bring up Castleford's half century in between the punch-ups to delight the home fans.
The final play of the match saw Warrington's Michael Cooper score on his debut, although it was a match both he and his team-mates will want to forget very quickly as their season falls apart.

Castleford (28) 52.
Tries: Pryce, Manu, Brough, Fa'aoso, Lupton 2, Platt, A. Fletcher, Shenton.
Goals: Brough 8.

Warrington (14) 26.
Tries: Parker, Grose, Reardon, Sullivan, Cooper.
Goals: Briers 3.
Att: 5,411