Hull FC ended Warrington’s four-game unbeaten run with a comfortable 34-10 victory at the KCOM Stadium on Friday.
The victory sees the Arlie Birds move a point clear of Castleford at the top whilst the Wire, who missed out on the chance to move into the top eight for the first time this season, remain in ninth place.
Hull boss Lee Radford was forced to make two changes to the team which edged past Cas last week, Jordan Thompson replacing captain Gareth Ellis at loose forward. The 35-year-old was unavailable after picking up a few knocks to his sternum during the victory over the Tigers.
Chris Green came into the front row with Liam Watts suspended for one match.
Warrington head coach Tony Smith was able to recall Matty Russell to the starting line-up whilst there was also a place on the bench for Mike Cooper – both players missed last Saturday’s victory against Wakefield with head injuries.
Daryl Clark was on track to return after his suspension had finished but he picked up an injury which meant Kurt Gidley started at hooker for the first time this season, with Brad Dwyer dropping to the bench.
Kevin Brown partnered Declan Patton in the halves for the first time since the defeat to Salford last month.
Jake Connor leapt highest to collect Marc Sneyd’s kick and open the scoring for Hull FC inside four minutes.
Warrington were almost punished for conceding a second penalty inside five minutes, but Ryan Atkins made a try-saving tackle to deny Sika Manu going over in the corner after Connor had tipped Sneyd’s kick into the Tonga international’s path.
The Black and Whites continued to make a strong start, the ball passing through the hands of Albert Kelly, Manu and Connor before ending up with Mahe Fonua who dotted down in the corner.
Stefan Ratchford came up with a raking pass that enabled Russell to get Warrington on the board after a quarter of an hour.
After being the brighter side at the beginning, Manu made life difficult for his team, being sent to the sin bin after he was adjudged to have put Atkins’ hand in a dangerous position by referee James Child.
The Wolves capitalized on the numerical advantage almost instantly, Joe Westerman’s converted try reducing Hull’s lead to just two points.
With both sides only separated by a couple of points, Sneyd opted to kick for goal to edge the Airlie Birds further ahead six minutes before the interval after Gidley was penalized for obstruction.
Jack Hughes thought he had helped move the Wire ahead for the first time in the match following a blistering run by Joe Philbin but the try was disallowed by the video referee because of an obstruction.
Minutes after Hull put the Warrington defence to the test, eventually finding a gap after earning back-to-back repeat sets, Jamie Shaul adding his name to the scoresheet.
Another Sneyd penalty helped Hull build a cushion against the Wolves as they moved 12 points ahead.
Warrington moved further behind after some slack defending allowed Kelly to sneak over from close range for his 10th try of the season.
The Wolves needed to score next to have a chance of earning a positive result from this game but Fonua denied Tom Lineham with a massive tackle that forced the winger into touch.
The hosts were guilty of letting their discipline slip, conceding successive penalties in as many minutes but the Wire couldn’t break through the Hull line as Chris Hill was held up.
Warrington tried several further times to desperately get over and try to reduce the deficit but the Black and Whites stood firm.
Kelly added insult to injury and helped guarantee the two points for Hull, crossing over for his second after Patton’s pass was intercepted by Fonua, who then made a length-of-the-field run.