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Wolves stay safe in second
Warrington close on Wigan as Dragons miss chance to move up
Warrington moved back to within three points of Stobart Super League leaders Wigan after beating Catalan Dragons 15-6 in a bruising encounter at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Ben Westwood and Ryan Atkins both scored tries to secure victory against the Dragons, who defended bravely but could only muster a lone score from Jason Baitieri.
The Wolves had dominated proceedings before the interval but had to dig deep to hold off a resurgent Catalan effort at the start of the second half.
The result means Warrington maintain the deficit they had to the table-topping Warriors at the start of the weekend, while the Dragons missed a chance to replace them in second position.
Warrington were forced into a late change when stand-off Lee Briers pulled out with an Achilles injury, but the versatile Stefan Ratchford stepped into the half-backs to deputise.
The home side, who had slumped to a shock defeat to Salford last time out, enjoyed all the early pressure and went ahead when England international Westwood grabbed a simple score after collecting a loose ball from team-mate Ben Harrison.
Warrington continued to surge forward but the visitors stood firm deep in their own territory and managed to limit the damage.
A brilliant 40-20 kick from Scott Dureau relieved the pressure as the half-hour mark passed, with the resulting set of six forcing the Wolves to do some last-ditch tackling of their own.
Moments later the action was back up the other end of the field, however, as Warrington piled on the pressure again before a handling error from Tyrone McCarthy allowed the Dragons to clear.
The scoreline remained 6-0 at the half-time interval and after the break the away side were quickly on the offensive as Damien Cardace grounded in the corner, although only after being dragged into touch by Ratchford.
It seemed as though the Dragons would reap the rewards of their rear-guard action in the opening half, but it was the Wolves who extended their lead in the 51st minute.
The hosts kept the ball alive on the final tackle, sending it out wide to Atkins, who chased down his own grubber kick forward to touch down, with Brett Hodgson bouncing a tough conversion off the right post.
The Dragons hit back with their first try of the night shortly after when a perfectly-timed pass from veteran forward Steve Menzies allowed Baitieri to barrel over, with Dureau adding the extras.
When David Ferriol was penalised for a high shot, the Wolves opted to add another two points to their advantage as Gareth O'Brien slotted over the goal.
The French side then drifted more than a score behind when Michael Monaghan drove over a drop goal attempt from in front of the posts to make it 13-6.
And Warrington held on for the rest of the contest, although it could have been a more nervy finish had Damien Blanch been allowed to streak clear after collecting what was adjudged to be a forward pass from Vincent Duport. A late penalty from Hodgson completed the scoring.
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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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