PANTHER PRIDE | A big win for the mountain men tonight has them firmly entrenched in the top eight, ...
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The Wolves stormed into a 16-0 lead after only 19 minutes and held off a spirited Hull fightback to climb from fifth to third place and boost their hopes of a first Grand Final appearance.
All eyes were on Australian legend Andrew Johns, making his second appearance for the Wolves, but it was former Hull centre Toa Kohe-Love who stole the limelight with two late tries to clinch a memorable victory.
Hull paraded the Challenge Cup after the match but it was a low-key affair after a third defeat in four games almost certainly wrecked their hopes of completing the double.
They also suffered a couple of injury blows with the loss of goalkicking half-back Danny Brough (ankle) and recent signing Sione Faumuina (shoulder).
John Kear?s men never recovered from a shocking start in which they conceded three tries in the opening quarter, two of them from second rower Logan Swann.
He scored from the visitors? first attack after only four minutes and Hull had barely recovered from that shock when Johns combined with full-back Brent Grose to get the lanky New Zealander over for his second.
Surprisingly, Johns was off target with his first kick at goal but converted his second attempt from a similar position to make it 10-0.
It got worse for Hull when skipper Richard Swain?s pass was intercepted by Lee Briers and, although Warrington-bound winger Richie Barnett got back to make the tackle, the home side?s defence failed to re-group and Grose cut through for a try three tackles later, with Johns again adding the goal.
Hull eventually began to improve on their alarming error rate and put together some promising moves but they were unable to make much impression on a hard-working Wolves defence until five minutes before half-time when second rower Stephen Kearney forced his way over from close range.
With Brough forced off with an ankle injury five minutes earlier, Paul Cooke took over the goalkicking and landed the conversion to give his side hope.
Hull launched a furious assault on the Warrington line at the start of the second half but Swain was unable to ground the ball and Kohe-Love came up with a timely interception to relieve the pressure.
A break by winger Chris Bridge provided further relief and, when Johns was tackled around the neck by Hull substitute Paul King, the little maestro kicked a penalty to stretch his side?s lead to 18-6.
Warrington were reduced to 12 men when Bridge was sin-binned for holding Graeme Horne down in the tackle after the substitute had made a lively break and Hull immediately took advantage, with winger Nathan Blacklock taking Cooke?s long pass to cross unopposed.
Cooke was inches wide with the conversion attempt but, at 18-10, the game was suddenly up for grabs and Barnett thought he had scored after collecting his own chip over the Wolves defence but had the try disallowed for a foot in touch.
The turning point came on the hour when Blacklock broke clear and appeared to be tripped by full-back Grose but claims for a penalty try were waved away by referee Steve Ganson and the Wolves seized their chance to wrap up the victory.
Kohe-Love pounced on a high kick from Johns to claim his first try and then got on the end of a break by Bridge for his second, with Johns taking his goal tally to five from six attempts.
Hull had the final say when Blacklock scored a consolation try but they were a disconsolate lot by then as the 2,200 Warrington fans basked in the glory of a landmark victory.
Hull: Saxton, Blacklock, Faumuina, Raynor, Barnett, Whiting, Brough, Dowes, Swain, Carvell, McMenemy, Kearney, Cooke. Replacements: King, Thackray, Chester, G. Horne.
Warrington: Grose, Fa'afili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Bridge, Briers, Johns, Leikvoll, N. Wood, P. Wood, Swann, Noone, Clarke.
Replacements: Hilton, M. Gleeson, Lima, Bracek.
Hull (6) 16. Tries: Kearney, Blacklock 2. Goals: Cooke 2.
Warrington (16) 30. Tries: Swann 2, Grose, Kohe-Love 2. Goals: Johns 5.
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens)