Rugby League - Monaghan inspires Warrington to win

Winger Joel Monaghan scored twice as unbeaten Warrington ended Catalan Dragons' 100 per cent start to the Super League season with an ugly 24-16 win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

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Warrington Wolves' Joel Monaghan (PA Photos)

The Australian crossed twice and Richie Myler added another as the Wolves claimed a crucial early lead in a scrappy, ill-disciplined and controversial contest. Damien Blanch began a fightback with two tries but the game got beyond the Dragons, who twice saw Brent Webb sin-binned, when Rhys Evans touched down.

Zeb Taia reduced the arrears late on but the Wolves, who were unexpectedly without playmaker Lee Briers and played most of the game without early injury victim Adrian Morley, had done enough.

The intensity was high from the outset and the Wolves drew first blood when Joel Monaghan twisted over on the right after Ryan Atkins and Myler had gone close on the left. Controversy erupted over Warrington's second try after Chris Riley, released by Atkins, was tackled into touch close to the line by Brent Webb and Steve Menzies.

Surprisingly, the Wolves were awarded the ensuing scrum after the officials spotted the slightest of knock-ons by Blanch prior to Atkins receiving the ball from a Brett Hodgson pass. The Wolves took full advantage and spread the ball right for Hodgson to send Joel Monaghan over again.

The hosts increased their lead just moments later after Michael Monaghan broke from deep and released Trent Waterhouse, who put Myler through on a clear run to the posts. Hodgson's second conversion increased the lead to 16-0 and it might have got worse for Catalan when Atkins seized on a loose ball but Leon Pryce chased back well.

Brent Webb was sent to the sinbin for holding down Riley as Warrington tried to maintain the momentum but Catalan survived that scare and scored themselves just before half-time as Blanch broke through two tackles. The French side continued their fightback after the interval as Blanch found space out wide after Pryce had been halted by a Myler tackle.

With Thomas Bosc adding a second touchline conversion, the deficit was down to four points but brilliant vision by Myler created a fourth Wolves try midway through the second half. The scrum-half bisected the Dragons defence with a well-weighted grubber kick right across the line and Evans timed his slide perfectly to gather and touch down.

The game came to a scrappy conclusion as heavy shots came in from both sides and tempers began to boil over. It came as no surprise when another melee broke out as Warrington attacked with eight minutes remaining and Webb was again picked out by referee Richard Silverwood and shown his second yellow card.

He was not alone leaving the field this time, however, as Warrington's Ben Westwood was also sinbinned. When calm was restored, Hodgson kicked his fourth goal from a penalty to make victory certain, although Taia burrowed over from close range.

Joel Moon haunted former employers Salford as Leeds came through their final Super League game before the World Club Challenge without too much of a fuss in a 42-14 victory.

Australian centre Moon was snapped up by Leeds following an impressive season with the Reds last year - he scored 11 tries in 19 games - and touched down twice as part of a classy display.

He was not always joined in excellence by his team-mates as Salford occasionally made life difficult for Brian McDermott's reigning champions, but the Rhinos had enough about them to pull clear when they needed to.

Full-back Zak Hardaker - concussed in last week's defeat at Castleford - went off at half-time with suggestions circulating he was being given a cautionary breather, and he will head McDermott's injury checklist, along with Ryan Bailey, Brett Delaney and Jamie Peacock, who sat out entirely.

With three of their leading lights missing, Leeds chose to allow Kylie Leuluai, Richard Moore and Stevie Ward to audition for a World Club Challenge shirt, and the latter submitted a third-minute try as part of his case, winning a footrace to score.

Having survived a spell from Salford, Leeds duly scored their second try, Moon getting his first when he was quicker than team-mates Carl Ablett and Kevin Sinfield to get to Danny McGuire's kick. Leeds picked up a third score with 26 minutes gone as Kallum Watkins finished off a neat right-side move that was started by Ian Kirke's barging run.

Moon then appeared to have forgotten he had left Salford as he twice knocked on when looking to ground the ball over the line, before the visitors unexpectedly got on the scoreboard with seconds of the first half left. Ashley Gibson ran on to Marc Sneyd's kick to score after good work from Jodie Broughton.

Sneyd kicked the goal and was lining another up three minutes after the restart when Niall Evalds, Salford's scorer in France last week, snapped up an intercept off McGuire and went the length of the field. The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 18-10, and there were suggestions Salford had a chance.

But Leeds quickly flexed their muscles to show who was in charge, with their two-in-four-minutes spell kickstarted by the introduction of hooker Paul McShane. He had a hand in the move which gave Moon his second 49 minutes in and then dug his way over the line twice.

Salford then thought they had grabbed the last word when Gibson poached a second, but Sinfield had that honour, scoring a try after Adam Neal's loose pass, before kicking his seventh goal, extending his 100 per cent record for the year to 15.

Australian stand-off Daniel Holdsworth put Hull into a winning position against St Helens but failed to deliver the killer punch to leave the scores tied at 22-22 in the Super League clash at Langtree Park.

The Black and Whites fought back from 22-12 down to draw level with the aid of Richard Whiting's 72nd-minute try and ought to have taken both points after dominating the final quarter.

But Holdsworth, who had helped create all four of his side's tries and kicked three superb conversions, missed a kick to win it and was also wide with two long-range drop-goal attempts in a frantic finish. That left St Helens relieved to salvage a point after once more looking distinctly out of sorts, despite the return from injury of influential hooker James Roby.

The Black and Whites were aiming for a third win in four visits to St Helens and they made a dream start, with right winger Jason Crookes taking Holdsworth's pass to score the game's first try after only four minutes.

Crookes undid much of his good work by dropping the ball from Lee Gaskell's high kick that led to Saints' equalising try and went off injured almost straight away. Slow-starting Saints actually took control of the match with the aid of a three-try burst inside 17 minutes.

Prop Anthony Laffranchi took Roby's inside pass to cross, skipper Paul Wellens combined with Josh Jones to get winger Francis Meli over for his third try of the season and former Hull centre Jordan Turner stepped inside his old team-mate Kirk Yeaman to open his account for the club.

Gaskell kicked two of his three conversions as St Helens led 16-6 but the introduction of hooker Aaron Heremaia injected new purpose into the visitors and they cut the deficit nine minutes before half-time when impressive full-back Shannon McDonnell won the race to Holdsworth's perfectly-judged kick to the line. Holdsworth's second goal made it 16-12.

Saints extended their lead when centre Jones crossed out wide for their fourth try on 49 minutes but Hull once more kept in touch when England winger Tom Briscoe profited from Holdsworth's pinpoint kick to the corner to claim his side's third try.

Holdsworth's immaculate touchline conversion again cut the gap to just four points and the visitors thought they had equalised on 63 minutes when Briscoe crossed again, only to have the try disallowed for a forward pass.

Hull's pressure finally told on 71 minutes when Holdsworth and Richard Horne combined to get centre Whiting slicing through for Hull's fourth try. That levelled the scores but Holdsworth was off target for the first time and he was also wide with two 40-metre drop-goal attempts in the last three minutes as the game ended in stalemate.

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