Friday 15th February 2013, 20:00 - Round:3
|Joel Monaghan 2, Richie Myler, Rhys Evans,||T||Damien Blanch 2, Zeb Taia,|
Brett Hodgson 4,
Thomas Bosc 2,
Attendance: 10,015 Official: R Silverwood Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Winger Joel Monaghan scored twice as unbeaten Warrington Wolves ended Catalan Dragons' 100 per cent start to the Super League season with an ugly win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The Australian crossed twice and Richie Myler added another as the Wolves claimed a crucial early lead in a scrappy, ill-disciplined and controversial contest.
Damien Blanch began a fightback with two tries but the game got beyond the Dragons, who twice saw Brent Webb sin-binned, when Rhys Evans touched down.
Zeb Taia reduced the arrears late on but the Wolves, who were unexpectedly without playmaker Lee Briers and played most of the game devoid of early injury victim Adrian Morley, had done enough.
The build-up to the game had been dominated by the continuing fall-out over Catalan forward Julian Bousquet's sending-off for a late tackle on Salford City Reds' Theo Fages last week.
Bousquet missed the match as he began a four-game ban but, having defended their player and announced an intention to appeal, the Dragons did not shirk challenges in a full-blooded encounter.
The intensity was high from the outset and the Wolves drew first blood when Joel Monaghan twisted over on the right after Ryan Atkins and Myler had gone close on the left.
Catalan responded with a break down the right but veteran Steve Menzies' pass was too strong for Blanch and flew into touch.
Signs of needle were evident after Dragons stand-off Leon Pryce was stopped short by Chris Riley and appeared to knee the Warrington winger as he got up.
A melee ensued and Pryce was pushed by a Warrington player before referee Richard Silverwood placed the incident on report.
The Dragons pushed forward in the subsequent set but Blanch was held up over the line.
Warrington's second try came after Riley, released by Atkins, was tackled into touch close to the line by Webb and Menzies.
Surprisingly, the Wolves were awarded the ensuing scrum after the officials spotted the slightest of knock-ons by Blanch prior to Atkins receiving the ball from a Brett Hodgson pass.
The Wolves took full advantage and spread the ball right for Hodgson to send Joel Monaghan over again.
The hosts increased their lead just moments later after Michael Monaghan broke from deep and released Trent Waterhouse, who put Myler through on a clear run to the posts.
Hodgson's second conversion increased the lead to 16-0 and it might have got worse for Catalan when Atkins seized on a loose ball but Pryce chased back well.
Webb was sent to the sin-bin for holding down Riley as Warrington tried to maintain the momentum but Catalan survived that scare and scored themselves just before half-time as Blanch broke through two tackles.
The French side continued their fightback after the interval as Blanch found space out wide after Pryce had been halted by a Myler tackle.
With Thomas Bosc adding a second touchline conversion, the deficit was down to four points but brilliant vision by Myler created a fourth Wolves try midway through the second half.
The scrum-half bisected the Dragons defence with a well-weighted grubber kick right across the line and Evans timed his slide perfectly to gather and touch down.
Catalan fought back but Daryl Millard was denied in the left corner by Michael Monaghan.
Millard went close again with just over 10 minutes remaining but this time his attempted offload was intercepted close to the line and a scuffle broke out as players of both sides scrambled for possession.
The game came to a scrappy conclusion as heavy shots were delivered from both sides and tempers began to boil over.
It came as no surprise when another melee broke out as Warrington attacked with eight minutes remaining and Webb was again picked out by Silverwood and shown his second yellow card.
He was not alone leaving the field this time, however, as Warrington's Westwood was also sin-binned.
When calm was restored, Hodgson kicked his fourth goal from a penalty to make victory certain, although Taia burrowed over from close range.
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