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Super League: Warrington Wolves battle to win over Catalan Dragons to go top of the table
Joel Monaghan scored two tries as Warrington Wolves inflicted a first defeat of the Super League season on Catalan Dragons at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The Wolves ran in four tries during a 24-16 victory to give Tony Smith the 250th first-team win of his coaching career and ensured they hit the top of the table.
Monaghan's double and a Richie Myler effort gave Warrington a 16-0 lead but Damien Blanch touched down either side of half-time to get the Dragons back in the hunt at 16-12.
Rhys Evans added the Wolves' fourth on 56 minutes and Brett Hodgson's penalty - awarded after Brent Webb and Ben Westwood were sent to the sin-bin for fighting - padded the lead before Zeb Taia rounded off the scoring with the Dragons' third try late on.
The Dragons were caught off-side twice in quick succession and the pressure told when Monaghan went over in the right corner for the opening try in the ninth minute. Hodgson converted.
Monaghan was in again in the same place on 29 minutes after the ball was moved wide at the first opportunity, the Wolves having been given head-and-feed at a scrum thanks to the touch judge ruling Catalan winger Blanch had knocked on.
Blanch appeared to get the faintest of touches on the ball during a Warrington passing move that ended with Chris Riley being bundled into touch short of the line.
A third Warrington try soon followed, Trent Waterhouse's inside ball exposed a gaping hole in the defence and gave Myler an unopposed run to the line.
And the Dragons were in danger of capitulating when full-back Webb made the first of two visits to the sin-bin for interfering at the play-of-the-ball four minutes before half-time.
A knock-on by Ryan Atkins prevented Warrington taking immediate advantage of their extra man and instead it was Catalan who scored next, Blanch barging over Riley in the right corner from Leon Pryce's pass. Thomas Bosc landed the touchline conversion to reduce his side's deficit to 16-6 at the break.
Blanch added his second try 12 minutes into the second half, Ian Henderson drawing four defenders straight from the play-of-the-ball and then serving up the scoring pass. Bosc was again on target from the touchline to get Catalan back within four points.
Warrington soon responded with their fourth try, Myler's grubber kick on the last tackle bounced kindly for a diving Evans to touch down.
Tempers began to flare and Webb earned another yellow card, this time after a fracas with Westwood, who received the same punishment. Hodgson kicked the subsequent penalty to ensure Taia's late effort was inconsequential.Super League. Click here to bet.
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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