Warrington 40-10 Hull KR: Wolves power past Hull KR
Last Updated: 08/08/20 9:36pm
Winger Tom Lineham scored his team's first and last tries as Warrington brushed off the cobwebs with a 40-10 win over Hull KR in the Betfred Super League at Headingley.
The full-strength Wolves beat Hull 38-4 in their last match before lockdown in March but looked distinctly rusty before eventually finding their rhythm with five second-half tries.
Playing without the fear of relegation, bottom-of-the-table Hull KR had their moments, particularly in the first half, and their players had plenty to prove with coach Tony Smith opting to field all 11 of the club's off-contract players, including former Leeds prop Nathaniel Peteru for his belated debut.
They were boosted by an early score from the league's leading tryscorer Ben Crooks, his eighth in seven matches, on his return from a neck injury sustained just before lockdown and belied their league position with some confident play.
Both sides were reduced to 12 men for spells in the first half, with Warrington centre Anthony Gelling punished for a dangerous tackle and Hull KR three-quarter Shaun Kenny-Dowall dispatched for a professional foul, and they made good use of the extra space.
The Robins were good value for their lead but England second-rower Ben Currie found a chink in their defence on 23 minutes and timed his pass to perfection to put Lineham over at the corner for his first try.
Full-back Stefan Ratchford kicked the conversion from the touchline to make it 6-4 after 15 minutes but Rovers held firm until five minutes before half-time when replacement forward Sitaleki Akauola burst through a hole in their defence
to touch down.
Ratchford's second goal made it 12-4, which was the half-time score, and the Wolves extended their advantage within five minutes of the re-start as Gelling used his strength to force his way over for their third try at the corner.
Ratchford could not add the extras but he was on target on 53 minutes after right winger Josh Charnley took Gelling's pass to finish off a flowing move with his side's fourth try.
That followed a sustained spell of pressure which illustrated how a team can build momentum to telling effect on the back of the new "six-again" rule.
The Robins hardly saw the ball in the third quarter and it was no surprise when the Wolves extended their lead, the superb Ratchford slicing through the defence to get scrum-half Gareth Widdop over before grabbing a try himself after full-back Adam Quinlan fumbled Blake Austin's high kick.
After kicking his fifth goal from six attempts, Ratchford was given the rest of the evening off as coach Steve Price opted to give the promising Matty Ashton a run at full-back on his return from a lengthy injury lay-off and he was denied a try by a last-ditch tackle.
Hull KR grabbed some consolation when Kenny-Dowall carved out a try for Quinlan which was converted by Ryan Brierley but Warrington had the final say when Widdop broke clear to get Lineham away for his second try.