Josh Charnley scored twice on debut as Warrington Wolves overturned a 10-point first half deficit to beat Widnes Vikings in the Good Friday derby at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Widnes were seemingly in command of proceedings after Ed Chamberlain scored twice to put the Vikings 10-0 in front.
However, two classy pieces of play from Wire’s half backs got them back level with Toby King, playing in the absence of Ryan Atkins, on the end of both.
First Tyrone Roberts passed out the back door after getting his nose through the defensive line for King to slide over and score. Then minutes later Kevin Brown produced a deft kick into the in-goal area which King caught and put down for his second of the afternoon.
Widnes would go into the sheds in the lead at half time as a penalty 40 metres out was duly converted by centre Kristnan Inu. H
owever Warrington’s second half charge which saw them score 22 unanswered points began with the first set after the restart.
Josh Charnley, back in Rugby League and on his Wolves debut, opened his account going over in the corner after Widnes full back Rhys Hanbury inexplicable let a high ball bounce. Warrington recovered possession moved the ball wide and gave the winger the opportunity to score.
Off season signing Sitaleki Akauola scored his first try in the Primrose and Blue of Warrington and his sides fourth try of the afternoon to put them 10 points in front.
Charnley, like his centre partner, grabbed his second of the game again going in at the corner to effectively end any chance of a Widnes win.
The scoring wasn’t completed yet as Ben Westwood strolled through some poor Widnes defensive efforts to score under the sticks and confirm the win for Wire.
The Vikings scored a well taken consolation try through Hanbury after former Wolves man Sam Wilde found a neat off load for the full back to go over the whitewash.
It was a deserved two points for Warrington who stretch their unbeaten run against Widnes to 12 matches in all competitions.
The Vikings stay in eighth but the Wolves move up to third level on points with Wigan and Castleford having played two and three games more respectfully than their rivals.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Back with a bang
While it was his return to Rugby League and two try performance that will dominate the headlines, it is his personal try haul against Widnes that catches the eye.
With today’s brace it takes Charnley’s tally to 23 tries in 13 against the Vikings, most definitely a thorn in Widnes’ side.
Hanbury’s Disappointing Afternoon
Hanbury was subject to interest from Hull KR this season, but on recent performances, KR will be glad their approach was rebuffed.
The Australian has been in torrid form this season, with many of his mistakes leading to tries.
It was the same today as the full back let the ball bounce for Warrington to score at a critical time.
If Widnes have genuine top 8 ambitions, Hanbury needs to regain some sort of form, and quickly.
Man of the Match: Josh Charnley
It was like he’s never been away from Rugby League judging from today’s impressive performance from ex-Sale winger Charnley.
On debut, scoring two well taken tries, and bringing the ball out strongly, coupled with some good defence means Charnley just edges out his centre partner Tony King for man of the match.
Warrington Wolves 32
Tries: King 2, Charnley 2, Akauola, Westwood
Goals: Goodwin 4/6
Drop Goals: n/a
Widnes Vikings 18
Tries: Chamberlain 2, Hanbury
Goals: Inu 2/2, Gilmore
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, T King, Charnley; K Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Westwood.
Interchanges: Philbin, Murdoch-Masila, Akauola, Smith.
Widnes: Hanbury; Marsh, Inu, Runciman, Chamberlain; Mellor, Gilmore; T Chapelhow, Heremaia, Burke, Dean, Wilde, Houston.
Interchanges: Johnstone, Olbison, B. Walker, Dudson.
Referee: Liam Moore