Valiant Robins slip to defeat to Warrington
The Robins looked full of confidence in the early minutes at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, and after enjoying some good early field position, they hit the front with a beautifully executed last-tackle play.
The ball was fired to the left and then back to the right behind the play-the-ball where Danny McGuire turned the ball back inside for Chris Atkin to scoot through a gap before trickling a kick wide to the right for Ben Crooks to touch down.
Warrington went close to a response soon after, but a big hit from Weller Hauraki forced Declan Patton to spill the ball. Three minutes later the Wolves were over though, after a penalty for offside carried them down the field and Patton put Harvey Livett over with a smart short ball.
Stefan Ratchford converted and suddenly the home side were finding their rhythm.
Kane Linnett did well to knock Patton’s cross-kick dead ahead of the onrushing Ryan Atkins, and Atkin managed to prevent Ratchford from getting the ball down as he set sail for the line.
With Warrington’s pressure building, Joel Tomkins popped up with a vital interception and break downfield to relieve the pressure, but as he went to ground, Blake Austin dived in and hit him with his shoulder.
The incident saw Tomkins leave the field for a head assessment and earned Austin a yellow card, and the Red and Whites exacted further retribution when Josh Drinkwater and Atkin combined to send Craig Hall racing over at the corner.
Drinkwater couldn’t convert though, and on the stroke of half-time the Wolves snatched the lead back again when Bryson Goodwin’s pass put Tom Lineham over at the corner.
Ratchford’s conversion gave Warrington a four-point lead at the break, and the home side came out all guns blazing and laid siege to Rovers’ line but the Robins responded with some excellent defence.
Five defenders scrambled to drag Lineham back from the try line before Mose Masoe forced Chris Hill to fumble, and Atkin put his body on the line to dive into a play-the-ball and recover possession for his side.
There was only so long the Robins could scramble for though, and Atkin’s error from an Austin bomb allowed Livett to cross for his second try of the afternoon.
With Tomkins already ruled out due to his concussion, Rovers were stretched even further when Junior Vaivai was forced off after picking up a head-knock of his own shortly after coming on. But despite the reshuffling in the Robins’ ranks, they kept plugging away.
Great defence dragged Austin down inches short as he set sail for the line, before the Red and Whites finally began to enjoy some field position of their own and a piece of magic from McGuire saw him slice through the Wolves’ line. The half-back kicked wide for the chasing Hall, but Josh Charnley got back to boot the ball dead and save the Wolves, then in the resulting set, the ex-Wigan man picked off an Atkin pass to race 90 metres and put pay to any hopes of a Rovers comeback.
Despite that, the Robins wouldn’t give up, and a gorgeous piece of play from Danny Addy saw him attract two defenders before popping an offload up for Jimmy Keinhorst to cross.
Josh Drinkwater converted, but the Red and Whites ran out of steam in their search for another score to set up a grandstand finish, and Mike Cooper crashed over in the final minute to give the scoreline a degree of comfort that Warrington were never really afforded by the gritty Robins.
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