Superstar Greg Inglis makes a scoring return to rugby league as Warrington Wolves sink Hull KR

ADMITTEDLY, there was none of the sheer hysteria and excitement that surrounded Andrew Johns’ famous Warrington Wolves’ debut against Leeds Rhinos in 2005.

Good partnership: Hull KR's Shaun Kenny-Dowall is congratulated on his try by Bradley Takairangi. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

That was always going to be the case; there were no fans at Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday.

With that in mind, when Greg Inglis was also selected for drugs testing and had to wait until long after the final hooter to provide a sample, the Australian superstar would have been forgiven wondering if returning to rugby league – after a two-year lay-off –was such a good idea after all.

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One of the greatest players to grace the game, Inglis has many similarities to fellow Kangaroo Johns: a Golden Boot winner, a Dally M winner, a Clive Churchill medal award winner, a World Cup winner, an NRL and State of Origin winner. A serial winner.

Handy: Warrington's star debutant Greg Inglis is tackled by Hull KR's Luis Johnson. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

His own career with Melbourne Storm started in the same season a 31-year-old Johns flew across the world to make his exhilarating three-game cameo for Warrington.

It remains to be seen, now at the age of 34, whether Inglis will ever recapture his brilliant best in Super League but there was enough evidence on Saturday, as he helped Warrington eventually overrun Hull KR, that there is a good chance he will certainly hurt teams.

Yes, the giant centre was largely anonymous in the first period, sending out one wayward pass, then losing possession when hit by Rovers winger Ethan Ryan and also being stood up by Brad Takairangi, the former NRL centre who showed so many nice touches for Tony Smith’s side.

However, Inglis improved significantly after the break. Just ask Takairangi.

Touch of class: Warrington's Greg Inglis is tackled by Hull KR's Luis Johnson and Ethan Ryan. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The big Kiwi is no soft touch when it comes to defending but he was trampled over with effortless ease by his opponent, who has done likewise to so many players over the years, as he wound up down the left.

Takairangi was left dazed. Soon after, Inglis’ famous brute strength came to the fore more decisively, as he bumped off and held off four defenders to stretch over down the short side.

Warrington hooker Daryl Clark looked to have taken the wrong option when heading blind with Inglis outnumbered but obviously the England international was well aware of his team-mate’s latent threat. It is still there.

Inglis’ looked in good shape, his familiar imposing stature – he stands at six foot five inches and weighs more than 16 stone – as threatening as ever; give him a few more weeks building up his match fitness and it would be no surprise if we see him making searing breaks again with his famous long gait style.

He also switched to full-back when Matty Ashton limped off and made a strong carry to put Clark in position to score on the hour as Warrington regained the lead at 28-22.

Speaking about his debut, Inglis – who arrived in January and had to wait until Round Five to be ready to feature–- said: “It wasn’t great but I knew I wasn’t going to be great. First half I was below-par; it’d probably be a five or a four out of 10. Second half, it would probably be a seven.

“From the team and boys here, there was no pressure on me to perform the way I used to.

“But the only way I could improve was to get back into it in the second half and I felt I did that but also the team did that as well.”

Rovers looked capable of securing a third successive win with scrum-half Jordan Abdull dictating as they built up an 18-12 interval lead.

He continually linked brilliantly with his centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall and befuddled Warrington struggled at times.

However, the visitors did find it difficult containing their opponents’ offload game and, in the second period, were too lax defensively near their own line.

Ryan Hall (2), Kenny-Dowall and Kane Linnett scored their tries, Abdull adding three goals.

Warrington powered home in the final quarter, aided after Luis Johnson’s yellow card for a professional foul. Ben Currie (2), Josh Charnley (2), Jake Mamo, Danny Walker and Toby King scored their other tries.

Warrington Wolves: Ashton; Mamo, T King, Inglis, Charnley; Ratchford, Widdop; Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Davis. Substitutes: J. Clark, Philbin, Akauola, Walker.

Hull KR: Quinlan; Ryan, Hall, Takairangi, Kenny-Dowall; Milnes, Abdull; G King, Parcell, Lawler, Johnson, Linnett, Hadley. Substitutes: Sims, Litten, Storton, Mustapha.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh)

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