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Wolves devour Vikings
Warrington record biggest ever Magic Weekend victory
Warrington ran in 12 tries as they beat sorry Widnes 68-4 at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Joel Monaghan crossed the white line five times whilst Matty Blythe claimed a hat trick as the Wolves embarrassed their near neighbours and recorded the biggest ever winning margin in a Magic weekend game.
Widnes gave a nod to the bright future they crave with the pre-match signing of Huddersfield captain Kevin Brown, but were brought crashing back to their miserable present as they were routed in their first ever appearance at the showpiece event.
Rooted to the bottom of the Stobart Super League table by some margin on their top-flight return, the Vikings have done little to convince many they were worthy of the three-year license given to them last year.
But they have always insisted their project is a long-term one, as they highlighted by announcing the stellar signing of Brown from 2013.
However, even that could not hide their current deficiencies. It was the kind of Widnes performance that must surely leave Brown wondering if he has done the right thing in agreeing to leave title hopefuls Huddersfield and pen a four-year deal with Denis Betts' club.
But Warrington were not in the mood to show their opponents any sympathy as they blew their beleaguered neighbours away to go top of the table ahead of Wigan, who do not play until tomorrow.
In front of a healthy contingent of their own supporters at the home of Manchester City, the Wolves were ahead with just three minutes gone and never looked back.
Blythe scored the first try in the corner after Lee Briers orchestrated a right-to-left move, before Garreth Carvell grabbed another in the very next set, twisting out of Cameron Phelps' attempted tackle.
The sheer brutality of Warrington's running was proving too much for Widnes to deal with, especially under the intense sunlight, and when Chris Hill flattened Rhys Hanbury with a bone-crunching tackle, it highlighted the differences between the sides perfectly.
A third try was quick to follow, with Monaghan kicking off what would be a 12-minute hat-trick when he grounded in the corner after a dozing Patrick Ah Van allowed Briers to plant a kick in behind him.
Two Gareth O'Brien goals meant the score was 16-0 at that stage and things were already looking bleak for Widnes, although they did have a 'try' of their own ruled out when Steffan Marsh was held up.
It was a rare sight of the Wolves line for the Vikings though and after 18 minutes they scorched in for a fourth try, Ryan Atkins showing some neat footwork to turn Stefan Ratchford's pass into a 15th try of the season.
The Primrose and Blue outfit did not need any helping hands but got one when Hanbury planted the restart straight into touch, and Briers and Monaghan made him pay, with the former putting up a kick that the latter pouched and grounded despite the somewhat relaxed attentions of Ah Van.
Former Canberra winger Monaghan completed his hat-trick not long after that, cantering home after Ratchford had worked an opening, and when Blythe broke away for a seventh try and O'Brien kicked a sixth goal to make it 40-0 with 28 minutes gone, it looked like Bradford's 96-16 record win over Salford could be under some threat.
Widnes were not entirely prepared to let that happen, though, and rode things out until half-time before scoring the first try of the second half when Kurt Haggerty dived into a gap.
It came after Trent Waterhouse missed what looked certain to be Warrington's eighth try when he broke over the line, only to have the ball dislodged by the covering Phelps.
Whether Widnes had found a way to deal with Warrington or Tony Smith's men had simply switched off remained to be seen, but with 20 minutes left, Monaghan got them firing again with a smart finish after Blythe's offload.
Blythe's own treble followed when he dotted down, before Ratchford got a try his support play had deserved when he crossed under the posts.
Warrington's momentum was well and truly back and Ben Currie nipped in after a Simon Grix offload, before Monaghan rounded things off in the corner with the final play of the game.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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