Pictures Eddie Whitham
CAPTAIN Chris Hill was sent off as a valiant 12 man Warrington Wolves lost their opening Super League game 16-10 at Wigan Warriors.
Hill saw red for a high tackle on Sam Powell as the Wigan hooker went to score a 23rd minute try, and despite a battling effort with 12 men, the Wolves couldn’t claim the win.
They were kept scoreless in the second half and ultimately Liam Marshall’s try on 65 minutes gave Wigan a cushion they wouldn’t surrender.
After losing eight of their last nine games in Super League last season, Warrington will have been eager to get off to a good start.
They scored the first points of the new season on eight minutes, Stefan Ratchford who was playing in the half-back role in the absence of injured marquee signing Gareth Widdop, scoring a penalty goal from 10 metres out.
Ben Murdoch-Masila would then sit down Wigan’s marquee man George Burgess to power over via three other defenders as Wire opened an 8-0 lead.
But Bevan French hit back almost straight away with a try converted by Zak Hardaker, before the game’s big talking point.
Powell had all but scored when a desperate Hill clobbered him high from behind, resulting in a penalty try being awarded by the video referee, and Hill being sent for an early bath by referee Chris Kendall.
Ratchford tagged on a penalty to bring Wire within two at 12-10 at half time, and they rolled their sleeves up in the second half.
A couple of breaks led by Matty Ashton and Blake Austin created half openings, but the Wolves’ momentum was halted when Mike Cooper was sent to the sin bin on 64 minutes.
Being two men down proved the straw that broke the camel’s back, as with the extra space out wide, Wigan winger Liam Marshall was put in on the overlap, and though the conversion was missed to keep it a one try game, Warrington just couldn’t find the equalising score.
Wigan: French, Marshall, Hardaker, Bibby, Burgess, Leuluai, Hastings, Partington, Powell, Burgess, Isa, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Subs: Byrne, Clubb, Havard, Smithies.
Warrington: Ashton, Lineham, Gelling, King, Charnley, Austin, Ratchford, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Murdoch-Masila, Clark. Subs: Philbin, Akauola, Walker, Burrell.