Fresh on the back of a winning trip to Perpignan, the Warrington Wolves swapped the south of France for north Cheshire as they welcomed Tony Smith’s Hull KR, a side looking for their third win of the season to lift them level with the home side.
Greg Inglis made his long awaited, and much anticipated, debut for the Wolves after signing from the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and Sitaleki Akauola was given a place on the bench for the first time this season but there was still no place for the out of favour Blake Austin.
Tony Smiths side came into the game having soundly beaten the Rhinos and full of confidence with a never say die attitude.
Good early pressure from Hull KR saw them score first when Shaun Kenny-Dowall grounded despite the attention of a couple of Warrington defenders. Jordan Abdull added the conversion with aplomb for 6-0.
Daryl Clark went close on nine minutes but was held short of the line and the Wolves were forced to hand over. On the next Warrington set Toby King found an overlap to go in at the corner. Stefan Ratchford added the touchline conversion to tie things up.
The Wolves were in again on eighteen when KR failed to deal with a grubber kick, Adam Quinlan not taking the ball in and Ben Currie being on hand to dab the loose ball down. Ratchford was accurate for the second time, another difficult conversion, for 12-6.
KR doubled down and scored their second try on twenty-six with Kenny-Dowall the provider, tipping on an Abdull pass, into the hands of Ryan Hall to cross in the corner. Abdull converted from the touchline as it was all square in the battle of the kickers, and on the scoreboard.
Abdull kicked a thirty-third minute penalty from under the shadow of the uprights to regain the lead which they’d surrendered in the ninth minute.
A show and go from Abdull allowed KR to register their third try of the game as he dummied a pass to Hall and went in at the corner. The Robins half-back was unable to add another goal but with a minute or so to play his side were 18-12 ahead going into the interval.
Ben Currie had coach Steve Price words still ringing in his ears when he went in four minutes after the break to punish a lacklustre KR defence. Ratchford couldn’t add the conversion, the Wolves still two points adrift.
Greg Inglis got a debut try to edge his side back into the lead after he shrugged off a couple of tacklers and spun over the line to ground. Ratchford added the extras for a 22-18 lead with fifty minutes on the clock.
The lead was overhauled again on fifty-seven with Ryan Hall walking in down the wing through a broken Wolves defence for his second of the day. Abdull failed for the first time in the game and the sides were all tied up at 22-22.
Daryl Clark was next over the whitewash with a scoot from dummy half on the hour mark, this one under the sticks allowing Ratchford a simple kick for a six-point Wolves lead.
A Jake Mamo gamble intercept try extended the Wolves lead to ten points when KR were lining up to score themselves. Ratchford kicked the touchline conversion and Warrington had a comfortable lead. Within two minutes the game was won as Josh Charnley dove in for the seventh Wolves try of the afternoon. Again, Ratchford added the extras from wide for 38-22.
Hull KR grabbed a seventy-first minute try when an Abdull high kick was caught and grounded by Kane Linnett but Abdull couldn’t add the conversion with seven minutes remaining.
Luis Johnson was sin-binned on seventy-five after interfering from an offside position.
The penultimate try of the game came from Danny Walker as a win turned into a rout, scampering to the line to ground after a Hall mistake. Ratchford kicked his seventh goal of the afternoon for 46-26.
Charley scored after the final hooter when he grounded a Toby King kick for the ninth Warrington try of the game and bring up the half century. Ratchford couldn’t convert but few Wolves supporters would care as their side scored an emphatic victory.
Hull KR played well in the opening forty and when the took the lead in into the half time sheds they must have fancied adding the Wolves scalp to the one they took from the Rhinos last weekend. But the Wolves fought back well in the second half and eventually romped to a big win to maintain the pressure on the sides above them, remaining one place clear of the Robins.
Warrington Wolves: Ashton, Mamo (T), Inglis (T), King (T), Charnley (2T), Ratchford (7G), Widdop, Hill, Clark D (T), Cooper, Currie (2T), Hughes, Davis. Subs: Clark J, Philbin, Akauola, Walker (T).
Hull KR: Quinlan, Ryan, Takairangi, Kenny-Dowall (T), Hall (2T), Milnes, Abdull (T, 3G), Lawler, Parcell, King, Linnett (T), Johnson (SB on 75), Hadley. Subs: Sims, Litten, Storton, Mustapha.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6, 10-6, 12-6, 12-10, 12-12, 12-14, 12-18 : HT : 16-18, 20-18, 22-18, 22-22, 26-22, 28-22, 32-22, 34-22, 38-22, 40-22, 40-26, 44-26, 46-26, 50-26 : FT.