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Two sides looking for their first win of the 2024 season met in round two at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium as Sam Burgess’s Warrington Wolves took on Tony Smith’s Hull FC for a place in the top half of the table.

FC made a host of changes to their line-up, some forced by suspensions, some by injury and others tactical while the hosts were without Lindop, Williams (injured) and Crowther (suspended) with Stefan Ratchford only being brought back into the side as eighteenth man.

The bookies made their minds up on the winner ahead of kick off with the home side rated as massive odds-on favourites, Hull FC being given a twenty-point start on the handicap coupon.

The early pressure from the Wolves was relentless and it took just four minutes for Danny Walker to crash over the line after returning a goal line drop out. Josh Thewlis added the conversion for an early 6-0 lead.

The Wolves spilled a chance of a second try on eight when Lachlan Fitzgibbon knocked on in the act of scoring and on fifteen minutes a brilliant ball and all tackle from Thewlis prevented Liam Sutcliffe from grounding as Hull had their first real chance of scoring.

With twenty-one minutes on the clock FC scored their first points of the game, and the season, when Lewis Martin slid over in the left corner off a Jack Walker pass. McIntosh added the touchline conversion to level the scores at 6-6. The visitors were growing in confidence.

On thirty-five Fa’amanu Brown was sent off for forceful and direct contact with the head, to the total surprise of everyone in the stadium. Thewlis kicked the resulting penalty for a two-point lead. The Airlie Birds would have to play the second forty with twelve men.

On forty-three Matty Ashton went for the corner and was hit high by Tex Hoy. The referee consulted the video referee before awarding a penalty try to the Warrington man. The conversion was under the sticks and Thewlis obliged.

But Hull weren’t capitulating. On forty-nine Jack Walker took the pass and ran the angle, throwing a dummy, to dive under the tacklers and ground just in from the left corner. McIntosh was unable to add the two from wide but the visitors were back within four.

Five minutes later and Warrington tried to slam the door shut again as Sam Powell scooted from acting half back, the Hull defence buying the dummy, to dive in under the sticks. Thewlis hit the mark again for 20-10.

A fifty-eighth minute Thewlis penalty goal extended the lead to two converted tries.

The game was put beyond Hull on sixty-two when Toby King found space wide left to take a James Harrison pass and walk in from five metres. Thewlis was just wide with the conversion attempt, but his side were 26-10 ahead with fourteen minutes remaining.

The numbers were levelled up on sixty-five when Sam Powell was sin-binned for a high tackle on Darnell McIntosh but with mitigating circumstances.

After an intercept and break FC were awarded a penalty close to the Warrington line on seventy-five but the Warrginton defence held and when they regained possession they broke downfield in a heartbeat with James Harrison being on hand to take the final pass and go over. Thewlis added the conversion for 32-10, a comfortable win for the home side, admittedly with a one-man surplus for the whole of the second half.

Connor Wrench put the icing on the cake with a try on the final hooter as Warrington exploited a massive overlap down the right side. Thewlis couldn't hit the mark with the conversion but it was 36-10 at the close in favour of the home side.

The main talking point of the game will be the thirty-fifth minute sending off of Fa’amanu Brown for what looked like an accidental head contact. The official’s decision killed the game as a spectacle and shocked those in the stadium. All Warrington could do was play what was in front of them and despite a couple of scrappy passages of play they put in a workmanlike performance to take the to points and get off the mark for Super League XXIX. Hull and now two losses from two and likely to have more problems with the disciplinary this week.

Warrington Wolves: Dufty, Thewlis (6G), King (T), Wrench (T), Ashton (T), Hayes, Drinkwater, Harrison (T), Walker (T), Vaughan, Holroyd, Fitzgibbon, Currie. Subs: Philbin, Musgrove, Powell (T, SB on 65)), Wood. 18th Man: Ratchford.

Hull FC: Walker (T), Martin (T), McIntosh (G), Sutcliffe, Barron, Hoy, Smith, Ashworth, Brown F (SO on 35), Brown J, Okumbor, Staveley, Lane.  Subs: Balmforth, Gardiner, Litten, Severs. 18th Man: Gardner.

Half-Time: 8-6.

Full-Time: 36-10.

Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-6, (SO), 8-6 : HT: 12-6, 14-6, 14-10, 18-10, 20-10, 22-10, 26-10, (SB), 30-10, 32-10, 36-10 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Warrington – Square - Warrington.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 23rd Feb 2024 9:52 PM | Views : 3606 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES