Wolves off to strong start
A stunning first-half display by Warrington Wolves saw them kick off their Super League campaign with a home 40-24 victory over Castleford.
The Wolves exploded out of the blocks at the Halliwell Jones stadium and scored four tries in the opening 13 minutes through Chris Riley, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Evans and Richie Myler with Brett Hodgson landing three conversions to open up a 22-0 lead.
Further first-half tries from Ben Westwood and Garreth Carvell, both goaled by Hodgson, saw the Wolves extend their lead to 34-12 at half-time.
The Tigers produced a much-improved second half display and restricted the home side to just a further score from Westwood but the damage had been done in the opening exchanges.
Castleford scored second half tries through Richard Owen and Jake Webster to add to first half scores from Justin Carney and Michael Shenton with Jamie Ellis landing four goals.
Warrington coach Tony Smith had almost a fully fit squad to select from with centre Chris Bridge the only absentee as he recovers from a close season operation.
A much changed Castleford side saw coach Ian Millward give six full debuts to Jordan Tansey, Jake Webster, Keith Mason, Justin Carney, Weller Hauraki and Lee Gilmour, while Michael Shenton returned for his second spell at the club as captain but they were without winger Kirk Dixon who was ruled out with a torn calf sustained in training.
The Wolves were quick out of the blocks and any hopes Castleford had of causing an opening game shock disappeared in the opening 13 minutes as the Wolves ran in four tries.
The Wolves were ahead after just two minutes when winger Chris Riley scrambled over in the corner and three minutes later a superb midfield break by Simon Grix sent Ryan Atkins racing clear to score.
Centre Rhys Evans claimed Warrington's third try on the 10 minute mark and three minutes later Richie Myler touched down with Brett Hodgson landing three conversions to make it 22-0 to the home side after just 13 minutes.
It was a surprise that it took a further 10 minutes for Warrington to add to their tally and this time a Briers bomb was kept alive superbly by Joel Monaghan and Evans to allow Westwood to cross for his side's fifth try which Hodgson again converted to stretch the lead to 28-0.
Castleford finally got a foothold in the game and were rewarded with points when Rangi Chase's kick deflected off Lee Briers and Jake Webster sent Justin Carney over for his side's first try of the season which Jamie Ellis converted.
Four minutes before half-time Garreth Carvell added a further try for the Wolves which Hodgson converted, but the Tigers had the final say of the first half when in the dying second Warrington lost possession as they tried to keep the ball alive and Shenton pounced on a loose pass and raced 30 metres to score.
Ellis kicked his second conversion to reduce the arrears to 34-12 at half time.
Warrington were once again on the front at the start of the second half and three minutes after the restart Myler sent Westwood over for his second try of the game and Hodgson's conversion made it 40-12.
But to their credit the Tigers stuck to their task and produced a gritty second half display which was rewarded with tries for Owen and Webster and Ellis landed two more conversions but all the damage had been done in the first half.