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Things get cold for Matt King in England
A brutal clash between Super League powers Warrington and Wigan left Australian duo Matt King and Trent Barrett facing the prospect of long stints on the cold English sidelines.
Former Test centre King was left badly concussed and had to be stretchered from the field following a high tackle which saw Wigan fullback Richard Mathers become the first player to be sent off this season.
Mathers was sorely missed as the Wolves capitalised on their one-man advantage to record a 32-20 win, Wigan's night made all the worse with Barrett and former Cronulla backrower Phil Bailey put on report for a spear tackle.
Warrington coach Paul Cullen called for Mathers' punishment to fit the crime, with King likely to be out of action for some time as a result of the tackle.
Play was held up for six minutes as the former Melbourne fan favourite was stretched from the field, with Cullen calling on the Rugby Football League's disciplinary panel to take King's condition into account when they consider further punishment on Tuesday.
"Injuries to players need to be factored in," said Cullen, who was already fuming at an earlier one-match ban handed out to Hull KR forward Stanley Gene for a high tackle on Wolves loose forward Simon Grix.
Grix is expected to miss four matches through injury.
"Stanley Gene is playing this weekend, but Simon Grix has missed two games and he might miss another couple," said Cullen.
"Somewhere down the line that needs to be taken into consideration.
"I've got no idea whether Matt King will play next week or not but he doesn't look good."
Mathers could have some company at Tuesday's disciplinary hearing if the league's match review panel decide to cite his teammates Barrett and Bailey, after they were put on report for a spear tackle on Warrington winger Paul Johnson.
Wigan had lost on all five of their previous visits to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, including last year's painful Challenge Cup semi-final, and never looked like ending their hoodoo in front of a capacity crowd of 13,024.
The Wolves did not look back after Jon Clarke and Michael Monaghan combined to get Vinnie Anderson striding through a yawning gap in the visitors' defence for the first of their six tries after only three minutes.
King and Rob Parker also touched down before the break before Martin Gleeson and Johnson added tries for the home side's fourth win in five matches.
The last two tries came as the Warriors were reduced to 11 men, with Mathers sent off and Michael McIlorum in the sin bin for a professional foul.
Warrington's victory lifted them level at the top of the table with Leeds, St Helens and surprise package Harlequins - who made it four wins in a row with a 24-0 whitewash of Huddersfield.
Quins scored two tries either side of the break, but the win may have come at a cost with veteran Henry Paul taken off at half-time with an ruptured bicep in his right arm.
"Henry's injury was a blow for us, but we don't know how serious it is yet," said coach Brian McDermott.
"I've seen some lads come back from this injury quickly and others struggle for a while."
Bradford were also hit by injuries as they secured only their second win of the season with a nail-biting 20-18 success over Catalans Dragons in Perpignan.