WARRINGTON Wolves held off a spirited Hull performance to win 18-16 and claim their first Super League win of the season.
Tony Smith’s men, defeated by St Helens and Leeds in their opening two games, were out of sorts again and they were grateful for a Stefan Ratchford penalty on the stroke of half time which ultimately decided the game.
The Wolves were kept scoreless in the second half, as the visitors fought back with tries from Tom Lineham and Fetuli Talanoa, but they fell just short of earning a point that they may argue they deserved over the 80 minutes.
Hull almost made a blistering start, shifting it right from the kick off between Ben Crooks and Lineham, who raced away tight to the right touchline, before Crooks was held up by the excellent Ratchford.
Warrington’s full-back (pictured top) opened the scoring on five minutes, running the perfect line to pick up Richie Myler’s smart short kick and wrong foot opposite number Jamie Shaul.
The home side’s uncertainty at the start of this campaign was perhaps summed up by the following kick-off, that saw Roy Asotasi bundled out of his own in-goal area by team-mate Gareth O’Brien as they both scampered to retrieve Lineham’s kick.
In contrast, Hull gradually built a platform in the game, with Mickey Paea superb in the front row, and it was his drive that created their first try, the subsequent quick play-the-ball enabled Danny Houghton to dart towards the line in the absence of any markers, and he burrowed his way over.
Warrington were back in front on 20 minutes, Trent Waterhouse powering over on the last tackle after Mickey Higham shifted the play left.
The home side were then handed 10 minutes with a one man advantage, when Ratchford wriggled through a couple of tackles on a kick return to race away, before being brought down by Shaul, who was sin-binned for his efforts, a professional foul in holding the man down.
In that spell, Gene Ormsby squandered a chance on the left, and after an early kick by Gareth O’Brien, the bounce deceived Joel Monaghan and the chance was gone.
But just as Hull were about to welcome back their full-back, they conceded a third try. Warrington had numbers on their left hand side, and it seemed to be a let off when O’Brien decided to grubber it through, but the visitors failed to deal with it, allowing Ben Evans to dive on the loose ball.
Ratchford made it a 12 point ball game on the hooter, taking a penalty after Crooks had been penalised for holding down.
The visitors started the second half encouragingly, and on the hour mark, they got back in to the game. Paea drove the ball in and was held up over the line, and from the next tackle, Lineham was found with space on the right and he finished spectacularly by the flag.
Crucially, Crooks missed the goal, and that left Hull with a task they couldn’t quite complete, despite their brave efforts.
Richard Horne was held up over the line after a fine run and inside ball by Whiting, before a neat chip by Horne almost led to a try for Lineham.
Warrington had chances of their own, and were camped on Hull’s line for consecutive sets after a knock-on by Talanoa. Roy Asotasi was held up, and Ormsby was twice tackled with the line at his mercy.
The introduction of Aaron Heremaia in the halves sparked Hull, and it was his dummy and long pass that set up Talanoa for his try three minutes from time, to set up a frantic finish.
Unfortunately for Hull, they didn’t manage to threaten the Wolves red-zone, Crooks pulled back for a forward pass which gave Warrington the chance to see out the game and claim the win.
Warrington: Ratchford, Ormsby, Bridge, Atkins, J Monaghan, O’Brien, Myler, Hill, Higham, Asotasi, Waterhouse, Westwood, Currie. Interchanges: M Monaghan, England, Laithwaite, B Evans.
Hull: Shaul, Lineham, Crooks, Yeaman, Talanoa, Rankin, Horne, Paea, Houghton, Bowden, Ellis, Pitts, Westerman. Interchanges: Whiting, Heremaia, Thompson, Palea’aesina
Trent Waterhouse heads for the line
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