Saturday 11th August 2012, 16:45 - Round:24
|Ben Westwood, Ben Harrison, Joel Monaghan, Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler,||T||Gareth Hock, Iain Thornley,|
Brett Hodgson 5,
Attendance: 13,859 Official: S Ganson Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
The race for the Stobart Super League leaders’ shield will go down to the wire after Warrington Wolves closed the gap on Wigan Warriors to a single point with an emphatic win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The in-form Wolves dominated from start to finish against strangely out-of-sorts opponents as they completed the Super League double over Wigan for the second successive season.
The Warriors will still lift the league leaders’ shield currently residing at the Halliwell Jones Stadium if they win their last three games of the regular season but Warrington are ready to seize on any further slip.
They tackled danger man Sam Tomkins out of the game and easily nullified the threat of Brett Finch, who was returning to the Wigan side after passing a late fitness test on his hamstring injury but looked short of fitness.
Warrington’s rampaging forwards, superbly led by Ben Westwood and Chris Hill, laid the platform for a blistering start which brought them two tries in the first seven minutes.
Wolves’ evergreen stand-off Lee Briers marked his 400th appearance by setting up the game’s first try.
The former skipper, who this week signed a new contract for 2013, seized on the first of a series of handling errors by the visitors and was only denied a try by a superb last-ditch tackle by Wigan centre George Carmont.
However, the Warriors’ defence were not able to regroup in time to prevent Westwood crossing out wide.
The leaders had not recovered from that shock when Hill bumped off Lee Mossop’s attempted tackle to get loose forward Ben Harrison over for a second try and Brett Hodgson’s second goal made it 12-0.
Wingmen Joel Monaghan and Chris Riley went close to adding to the scores as Warrington bossed proceedings but Wigan pulled a try back nine minutes before half-time when second-rower Gareth Hock forced his way over from a tap penalty five metres out.
Josh Charnley’s goal cut Warrington’s lead to six points but it was back up to 10 by half-time when Monaghan took Hodgson’s pass to grab a third try.
The Wolves left to a standing ovation at half-time and the home crowd had plenty more to cheer in the second half.
Hodgson extended his side’s lead with a penalty and converted an 80-metre try from centre Stefan Ratchford, who collected a wayward kick from Wigan scrum-half Matty Smith and showed a clean pair of heels to his pursuers.
Warrington’s errors were few and far between but, when Briers failed to find touch with a penalty, Wigan took advantage to create an overlap, with Carmont sending Iain Thornley over for a try.
But it did little to upset the general pattern of the game and Warrington duly extended their lead when scrum-half Richie Myler took Michael Monaghan’s pass to cross for a fifth try and Hodgson kicked his fifth goal.