Warrington's nightmare continues as Rhinos and Hull FC take charge

By Iain Strachan 25 March 2017 64
Warrington's nightmare continues as Rhinos and Hull FC take charge

Warrington Wolves' terrible Super League season took another turn for the worse on Friday as St Helens thumped last year's beaten grand finalists 31-6, while Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos both won to sit level on points at the top of the table. 

Narrow 12-6 losers to Wigan Warriors in the 2016 decider at Old Trafford, Wolves had started the year with plenty of promise when they upset Brisbane Broncos in the Club World Series last month.

But their 2017 Super League campaign has proven to be an unexpected debacle, Warrington now having lost all six of their opening matches to call the future of coach Tony Smith into question.

The visitors' initially stubborn resistance was broken in the 30th minute at Totally Wicked Stadium, when Matty Russell failed to ground the loose ball properly, allowing Zeb Taia to score an opportunistic first try. 

A clever kick over the top and out wide from Matty Smith - making his second debut for St Helens after returning from Wigan and recovering from injury - released Jack Owens to score the second four minutes later.

And the third try of the decisive barrage arrived in the 37th minute, Mark Percival released by Taia, drawing the tackle and offloading to Adam Swift, who stepped inside his man and crossed.

Percival converted all three tries to see St Helens go in 18-0 up at the break.

Warrington did get one back two minutes into the second half, Kurt Gidley bursting through from close to the line and Stefan Ratchford adding the extras. 

But St Helens never looked troubled, Swift latching on to Jon Wilkin's kick and evading attempted tackles from Ratchford and Russell to bag his second, Alex Walmsley capping off the win with the hosts' fifth try in the final minutes. 

Elsewhere, Leeds held Huddersfield Giants scoreless in the second half to win 28-12 and they are joined on 10 points at the summit by Hull FC, who held off a second-half fightback from champions Wigan to record a 22-20 victory away from home. 

In the other match on Friday, Salford Red Devils crushed second-bottom Widnes Vikings 46-10 on the road.

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Iain Strachan

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