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HALF TIME: Warrington Wolves 18 Huddersfield Giants 10
TWO tries in seven minutes late in the first half has seen Wolves turn round a 10-6 deficit for an interval lead.
Scrum half Richie Myler, who has slowly grown into his first game since August 3, was instrumental in both key scores as Wolves bid to reach their second successive Grand Final at Old Trafford.
Wolves were on fire from the first whistle, smashing into the Huddersfield forwards from Stefan Ratchford’s deep kick off and then scoring from their second set after a penalty had been conceded for holding down.
Chris Bridge sucked in both Joe Wardle and Aaron Murphy before slipping a wonderful pass for Joel Monaghan to walk over for his 29th try of the season. With Ratchford slotting over a sweet touchline conversion, it was 6-0 after two minutes and the stadium was rocking with early euphoria.
But dangerman Danny Brough struck back for Huddersfield, initially intercepting to put the visitors on the attack. And then after Ben Westwood knocked on, Brough touched down his own grubber kick after Westwood, Chris Bridge and Ratchford all made a mess of clearing the danger. Brough’s conversion levelled matters after nine minutes.
Huddersfield started to get a share of the dominance at the ruck and made it count.
A Riley knock on from a twisting Brough high kick paved the way for the next score, with Shaun Lunt and Luke Robinson combining to find 18-year-old full back Jake Connor on an angled run and he was able to squeeze the ball down despite the attentions of three defenders. Brough missed his touchline conversion to leave Giants 10-6 in front after 24 minutes. The stadium was suddenly much quieter.
Wolves sparked up again on the back of a penalty for substitute Mike Cooper being held down and that man Joel Monaghan crossed again from short range off another Bridge pass.
The hard work was done by Myler, though, creeping into the line in back play to receive Briers’ pass and make the extra man that provided the space for Bridge to exploit. Another wonderful touchline conversion from Ratchford nudged Wolves back in front at 12-10 after 35 minutes.
Larne Patrick’s grapple tackle on Westwood allowed Wolves to raid again and establish an 18-10 lead in the second minute of added time.
Initially, Briers darted from first man and was held up over the try line but from the next tackle Myler’s angled grubber kick was fluffed by Leroy Cudjoe and Simon Grix pounced. Ratchford’s extras ensured Wolves entered the interval with an eight-point advantage.
Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Lee Briers, Richie Myler; Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix, Ben Harrison. Subs: Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell, Mike Cooper.
Giants: Jake Connor; Jermaine McGilvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Aaron Murphy; Danny Brough, Luke Robinson; Eorl Crabtree, Shaunt Lunt, Craig Kopczak, Brett Ferres, Jason Chan, Michael Lawrence. Subs: Larne Patrick, Ukuma Ta'ai, Dale Ferguson, Kyle Wood.
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