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Sunday 4th September 2011, 12:45 - Round:26
|Matt King, Lee Briers, Michael Monaghan 2, Jon Clarke, Joel Monaghan,||T||Paul Deacon, Sean O'Loughlin,|
Chris Bridge 7,
Pat Richards 2,
Attendance: 13,024 Official: R Silverwood Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Warrington Wolves brought Carnegie Challenge Cup winners Wigan Warriors down to earth with a bump to complete a notable Engage Super League double and take over at the top of the table with one round of the regular season left.
The Warriors went into today’s game in front of a full house at the Halliwell Jones Stadium with one eye on the second leg of a famous treble, but experienced a Wembley hangover as the Wolves killed the game off by racing into a 24-0 lead after 23 minutes.
Hooker Michael Monaghan scored two of their six tries in a rousing clash as Warrington condemned the defending champions to their first defeat for three months and gained a measure of revenge for their Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat.
The Wolves will now claim their first top-of the-table finish since 1973 and take the League Leaders’ Shield from Wigan if they beat Hull FC next Friday.
Defeat at the KC Stadium would reopen the door for Wigan, who meet Crusaders RL at home.
The Wolves were inspired by the return of captain Adrian Morley, who had been out for 10 weeks with double vision but typically took the first drive of the match, and with fellow front rower Garreth Carvell helped lay a superb platform for the Wolves’ early dominance.
Winger Matt King opening the scoring after 10 minutes, latching onto Lee Briers’ high kick to register a trademark try, which brought up the 1,000th point of Warrington’s Super League campaign.
Three minutes later Briers profited from a kind ricochet to score a second try, the ball striking Thomas Leuluai from his kick and bouncing back into his arms, and four minutes after that Richie Myler broke clear to get the outstanding Monaghan racing over for a third try.
Wigan’s talismanic full-back Sam Tomkins could only stand and watch the early carnage but he provided a demonstration of his danger with a clean break midway through the first half, only to make a hash of the final pass.
There was further evidence that it was not going to be Wigan’s day when second rower Harrison Hansen dropped Brett Finch’s pass on his own 20-metre line and Monaghan swooped to score his second try and, with Chris Bridge converting all four, Warrington were coasting at 24-0.
They understandably went off the boil when Morley and Carvell took a breather, while the introduction from the bench of Gareth Hock, who came in for the injured Lee Mossop in the only change to Wigan’s Wembley line-up, livened up the visitors’ attack.
The Warriors threatened a fightback through half-back Paul Deacon, who beat three defenders on a jinking run to mark the 400th appearance of his career with a try, with Pat Richards adding the goal, but Monaghan got Warrington’s score rolling again with a drop goal four minutes before the break.
The second half was certainly more competitive and there was a 36-minute wait by Warrington fans among the 13,024 crowd for their next try.
Myler touched down after collecting Briers’ kick only to be ruled to offside but there was no stopping replacement hooker Jon Clarke when he forced his way over from close range on the hour.
The game was held up after that while referee Richard Silverwood dealt with a scuffle involved Briers and Tomkins that summed up the ferocity of a passionate encounter.
As Wigan forced their hand to try to get back into the game, Warrington winger Joel Monaghan picked off a pass by Finch to sprint 90 metres for a try.
Wigan gained some consolation when skipper Sean O’Loughlin scored a second try eight minutes from the end and Richards kicked a second goal, but the home side had the final say when Bridge kicked a last-minute penalty, his seventh goal from as many attempts.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals