FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Leeds Rhinos 24 Warrington Wolves 16

FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Leeds Rhinos 24 Warrington Wolves 16

Pictures by Mike Boden

FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Leeds Rhinos 24 Warrington Wolves 16

FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Leeds Rhinos 24 Warrington Wolves 16

FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Leeds Rhinos 24 Warrington Wolves 16

FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Leeds Rhinos 24 Warrington Wolves 16

First published in Wolves
Last updated
Warrington Guardian: by , Sports Editor

FOR the second year in a row Warrington Wolves’ Challenge Cup dream has ended at the semi-finals stage.

Wolves, victors over Leeds in the 2010 and 2012 finals at Wembley, gave themselves too much to do in the second period after making life very difficult for themselves from the start.

Trailing 14-0 at half time, Tony Smith’s side were tremendous in getting back to within eight points twice and had Leeds pinned on the back foot for long periods.

But there was always a risk of needing to take chances and falling foul to a sucker punch.

It was England winger Tom Briscoe’s breakaway effort from Simon Grix’s dropped ball that eventually proved crucial.

Nervy Wolves took a real pummelling in the hot sun in the opening 15 minutes at Langtree Park, most of which was spent in their own half.

A crazy first kick return from Matty Russell, in which he ran straight into Ben Harrison and caused an obstruction, allowed Kevin Sinfield to boot Leeds into a 2-0 lead from 12 metres after two minutes.

Stefan Ratchford then kicked the ball straight over the dead-ball line from the restart to put his team under pressure, the Wolves stand off then scooping up a grabber at the end of the set as Leeds forced a drop-out.

Leeds earned another drop-out from Danny McGuire’s short kick cleaned up by Joel Monaghan as the Yorkshiremen dominated the early possession.

Chris Bridge, Anthony England and Ben Westwood held Carl Ablett up over the try line as Wolves’ defence held strong but they could not get out of their half, for at the end of the next set Ratchford’s clearance kick ricocheted around and led to England finding himself offside.

And a high tackle from Ratchford on Joel Moon 15 metres from his own line made it 4-0 in penalties to Leeds as they ramped up the bombardment on Wolves’ line.

Again, Tony Smith’s side resisted and a gutsy life-saving tackle by Ben Harrison, Russell and Ratchford prevented Jamie Jones-Buchanan touching down and knocking on in the process.

On brief excursions into Leeds territory a Ratchford bomb was taken easily over his own line by Zak Hardaker and a chance offload from Richie Myler ended up in Ablett’s hands.

It took a 60-metre touch finder from Michael Monaghan to finally look as though Wolves could settle down.

But the next time Wolves got into Leeds’ half the last play ended with Joel Monaghan kicking high but straight into touch.

Simon Grix’s first touch off the bench resulted in a knock-on around Wolves’ 40-metre line as the error count continued to rise alarmingly.

All the pressure finally paid off in the 30th minute as video referee Ben Thaler awarded Ryan Hall a try with benefit of the doubt, squeezing in at the corner flag under the challenge of Joel Monaghan off Moon’s pass.

There was a question mark if Hall lost possession in the act of scoring but video replays were unclear and when Sinfield booted over the extras from the touchline Leeds held an 8-0 advantage.

At this stage, Wolves had still not threatened Leeds’ line and a promising half break from Russell broke down with his skilful offload to Myler ruled forward by referee Phil Bentham.

A few minutes later, on the next visit to Leeds’ 20-metre line, Myler’s flat pass to Roy Asotasi was judged to be forward and another error cost Wolves an attacking opportunity.

Wolves’ first great chance to score came to nothing when Kallum Watkins got back to intercept  Asotasi’s long pass to Ryan Atkins in broken play after Hardaker lost a hick kick in the sun and Michael Monaghan had pounced to initially keep the ball alive.

Then, Leeds struck again after Hardaker broke through Paul Wood and Asotasi on a kick return.

With Wolves scrambling, McGuire’s long pass from first receiver - that was actually forward - sent England winger Hall over for his second try and Sinfield’s touchline conversion pushed them 14-0 ahead after 40 minutes.

The nearest Wolves came to scoring was with the final play of the half after a penalty awarded for interference by Moon.

With the clock ticking down Russell found himself in space on an angled run to the line but Brett Delaney clawed him to the floor and the hooter sounded.

The second half was all about Warrington gaining a fairer share of possession and territory and seeing if they could rack up points on the back of it.

They blew a scoring opportunity two minutes into the second stanza, with Rhys Evans breaking away in a four-on-one opportunity. As Atkins received the inside pass the cover defence closed in and when Ablett hauled him down the Wolves centre blindly offloaded into the hands of Sinfield.

Two minutes later Wolves did get themselves back in the game, with a Myler cross-field kick being taken in the air by Joel Monaghan and his pass allowed Bridge to walk over unopposed.

Bridge’s conversion attempt bounced wide off the post but Wolves at last had points on the board at 14-4.

Leeds were starting to look lethargic as Wolves increased the physicality in defence.

And then another hanging kick from Myler towards Joel Monaghan caused Hall to spill under pressure and a scrum created an attacking set that fell down with a blocked Myler grubber.

The counter attack from Watkins paved the way for a further break from Rob Burrow and then swift movement to the left allowed McGuire to put Moon through a huge gap and score a punishing try that went unconverted, making it 18-4 after 54 minutes.

Ratchford’s re-start found the dead-ball line with a bounce to give Wolves an attacking platform.

A high tackle on Trent Waterhouse maintained the raid and Chris Hill, sporting a badly bruised right eye and cheek, was deemed to have lost the ball over the line in a four-man tackle as the opportunity went begging.

But Wolves, with Bridge switched to stand off and Ratchford operating in the centres, were not going to give up.

And, with the help of several repeat sets from Leeds ricochets, Ratchford got over from a wonder Westwood offload, following a determined driving run from Atkins. Bridge’s extras cut the gap to eight points with 63 minutes played.

The game looked to be over 10 minutes later when a pass from Myler was not taken in by Grix and Briscoe pounced.

He had 60 metres of open space in front of him and although Rhys Evans got to him the fend was strong and the England winger was able to canter the final 20 metres.

Sinfield’s goal extended the Leeds lead back to 14 points with 11 minutes, including injury time, remaining.

Although Wolves did finish the game strongly, they were racing the clock.

Three minutes into injury time a bizarre Westwood try from England’s offload knocked backwards 10 metres by Leeds kept the contest alive, with Bridge’s extras making it 24-16.

But time ran out and Wolves were left to rue one of their poorest half's of rugby in semi-final football in the Smith era.

Wolves: Matty Russell; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Evans; Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Anthony England, Ben Westwood, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Harrison. Subs: Micky Higham, Roy Asotasi, Paul Wood, Simon Grix.

Leeds: Zak Hardaker; Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall; Danny McGuire, Kevin Sinfield; Kylie Leuluai, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock, Carl Ablett, Brett Delaney, Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Subs: Pail Aiton, Ryan Bailey, Ian Kirke, Liam Sutcliffe.

Referee: Phil Bentham

Comments (9)

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5:28pm Sat 9 Aug 14

keithr21 says...

Full credit to Leeds they were the better team, we did not turn up in the first half. I only hope this defeat does not deflate the team because we really need a top four finish to have any chance of getting to The Grand Final. I do think that Gareth O'Brien deserved to be in the team today.
Full credit to Leeds they were the better team, we did not turn up in the first half. I only hope this defeat does not deflate the team because we really need a top four finish to have any chance of getting to The Grand Final. I do think that Gareth O'Brien deserved to be in the team today. keithr21
  • Score: 4

5:33pm Sat 9 Aug 14

ninearches says...

We were our own worst enemy against a Leeds side that was there for the taking & that is not the first time this season. Too much panic passing ,too much stray ball going to ground ,trying to score off every play & too little structure with no apparent go to play maker on the pitch....it as if no one knew who was actually running the show .We had too many cooks spoiling the broth who at times looked like startled rabbits & only started playing some meaningfully structured rugby with 10 minutes to go.
We were our own worst enemy against a Leeds side that was there for the taking & that is not the first time this season. Too much panic passing ,too much stray ball going to ground ,trying to score off every play & too little structure with no apparent go to play maker on the pitch....it as if no one knew who was actually running the show .We had too many cooks spoiling the broth who at times looked like startled rabbits & only started playing some meaningfully structured rugby with 10 minutes to go. ninearches
  • Score: 6

9:03pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Cheap Mower says...

Clueless in attack again, we looked a lot better with Bridge at 6 though. I think we need a new scrum half (Myler not good enough) and a new winger instead of Evans / Ormsby (give Penny a go first)
Clueless in attack again, we looked a lot better with Bridge at 6 though. I think we need a new scrum half (Myler not good enough) and a new winger instead of Evans / Ormsby (give Penny a go first) Cheap Mower
  • Score: 4

9:35am Sun 10 Aug 14

wirematt says...

Yet again smith accommodating myler cost us the game.
Yet again smith accommodating myler cost us the game. wirematt
  • Score: 3

12:10pm Sun 10 Aug 14

wolfitdown says...

ninearches wrote:
We were our own worst enemy against a Leeds side that was there for the taking & that is not the first time this season. Too much panic passing ,too much stray ball going to ground ,trying to score off every play & too little structure with no apparent go to play maker on the pitch....it as if no one knew who was actually running the show .We had too many cooks spoiling the broth who at times looked like startled rabbits & only started playing some meaningfully structured rugby with 10 minutes to go.
Pretty much spot on especially about the lack of structure, once again with defenders flying out of their line we seem to have no answer and are forced into rash decisions, TS has tried various pairings at half back with varying degrees of success even then none of them seem to be able to take charge or fully impose themselves on the a game, while playing well they tend to be more individualistic, my comments are not meant to be critical as I'm sure they always give their best and at the moment will all be feeling the pain.
[quote][p][bold]ninearches[/bold] wrote: We were our own worst enemy against a Leeds side that was there for the taking & that is not the first time this season. Too much panic passing ,too much stray ball going to ground ,trying to score off every play & too little structure with no apparent go to play maker on the pitch....it as if no one knew who was actually running the show .We had too many cooks spoiling the broth who at times looked like startled rabbits & only started playing some meaningfully structured rugby with 10 minutes to go.[/p][/quote]Pretty much spot on especially about the lack of structure, once again with defenders flying out of their line we seem to have no answer and are forced into rash decisions, TS has tried various pairings at half back with varying degrees of success even then none of them seem to be able to take charge or fully impose themselves on the a game, while playing well they tend to be more individualistic, my comments are not meant to be critical as I'm sure they always give their best and at the moment will all be feeling the pain. wolfitdown
  • Score: 2

1:58pm Sun 10 Aug 14

pennstate says...

I think the team gave its all! However why dd Smith drop our one ball player who has been instrumenal in our revival this year, O'Brien? If we had been able to get the ball out wide we could have won. Smith went back to Myler/Ratchford the same combination that failed earler in the year. Ratchford is an occasional player with brilliant solo flashes but he cant pass under pressure and goes missing to often. Matty R is not a full back, that is so obvious. But my biggest moan is, yet again, Smith turns his back on the young players. Either buy a half back or release O'Brien, but please stop messing the kid about! Two Challenge Cup semi losses and two grand final losses-TS needs to spend more time looking at structure and a game plan and less time commending other teams players. Sorry, I am very disappointed for the fans and players.
I think the team gave its all! However why dd Smith drop our one ball player who has been instrumenal in our revival this year, O'Brien? If we had been able to get the ball out wide we could have won. Smith went back to Myler/Ratchford the same combination that failed earler in the year. Ratchford is an occasional player with brilliant solo flashes but he cant pass under pressure and goes missing to often. Matty R is not a full back, that is so obvious. But my biggest moan is, yet again, Smith turns his back on the young players. Either buy a half back or release O'Brien, but please stop messing the kid about! Two Challenge Cup semi losses and two grand final losses-TS needs to spend more time looking at structure and a game plan and less time commending other teams players. Sorry, I am very disappointed for the fans and players. pennstate
  • Score: 7

2:55pm Sun 10 Aug 14

ninearches says...

Leeds were there for the taking yesterday & by their standards were not great on the day , but they knew how to win.
Leeds were there for the taking yesterday & by their standards were not great on the day , but they knew how to win. ninearches
  • Score: 2

8:21pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Crofty11 says...

pennstate wrote:
I think the team gave its all! However why dd Smith drop our one ball player who has been instrumenal in our revival this year, O'Brien? If we had been able to get the ball out wide we could have won. Smith went back to Myler/Ratchford the same combination that failed earler in the year. Ratchford is an occasional player with brilliant solo flashes but he cant pass under pressure and goes missing to often. Matty R is not a full back, that is so obvious. But my biggest moan is, yet again, Smith turns his back on the young players. Either buy a half back or release O'Brien, but please stop messing the kid about! Two Challenge Cup semi losses and two grand final losses-TS needs to spend more time looking at structure and a game plan and less time commending other teams players. Sorry, I am very disappointed for the fans and players.
I have said many times, whilst myler is at Warrington O'brien doesn't stand a chance. Even when they play together myler will not work with O'brien , his ego is too big to allow a less experienced player to create anything. Imagine how good O'brien would of been playing alongside Briers for 5 years...myler does not have a rugby brain.
I wouldn't want to see O'brien go to another team but think he will for his own career as he knows he won't get anywhere at Warrington. Another Warrington lad pushed to one side for an money grabbing outsider, myler & a few others will play for the highest pay cheque at the end of the day. No loyalty no pride in the shirt, TS will bring in yet another Aussie to fill the gap left by Briers.
[quote][p][bold]pennstate[/bold] wrote: I think the team gave its all! However why dd Smith drop our one ball player who has been instrumenal in our revival this year, O'Brien? If we had been able to get the ball out wide we could have won. Smith went back to Myler/Ratchford the same combination that failed earler in the year. Ratchford is an occasional player with brilliant solo flashes but he cant pass under pressure and goes missing to often. Matty R is not a full back, that is so obvious. But my biggest moan is, yet again, Smith turns his back on the young players. Either buy a half back or release O'Brien, but please stop messing the kid about! Two Challenge Cup semi losses and two grand final losses-TS needs to spend more time looking at structure and a game plan and less time commending other teams players. Sorry, I am very disappointed for the fans and players.[/p][/quote]I have said many times, whilst myler is at Warrington O'brien doesn't stand a chance. Even when they play together myler will not work with O'brien , his ego is too big to allow a less experienced player to create anything. Imagine how good O'brien would of been playing alongside Briers for 5 years...myler does not have a rugby brain. I wouldn't want to see O'brien go to another team but think he will for his own career as he knows he won't get anywhere at Warrington. Another Warrington lad pushed to one side for an money grabbing outsider, myler & a few others will play for the highest pay cheque at the end of the day. No loyalty no pride in the shirt, TS will bring in yet another Aussie to fill the gap left by Briers. Crofty11
  • Score: 0

8:44am Mon 11 Aug 14

realistic southstander says...

Fully agree with ninearches.Also it seemed that too many players looked way short of full fitness. Perhaps more time was needed for Waterhouse, Grix, Myler, Wood & Asostasi to justify a starting place against one of the top teams. They were certainly way off the ace and fled to match their Leeds counterparts. However the biggest failing....lack of a genuine playmaker and organiser. Too many headless chickens sums up the performance perfectly!
Fully agree with ninearches.Also it seemed that too many players looked way short of full fitness. Perhaps more time was needed for Waterhouse, Grix, Myler, Wood & Asostasi to justify a starting place against one of the top teams. They were certainly way off the ace and fled to match their Leeds counterparts. However the biggest failing....lack of a genuine playmaker and organiser. Too many headless chickens sums up the performance perfectly! realistic southstander
  • Score: 5

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