FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Leeds Rhinos 18 Warrington Wolves 12

Gareth O'Brien started alongside Richie Myler at stand off. Pictures: MIKE BODEN

Anthony England made his Super League debut

Roy Asotasi's late drive to the line was held agonisingly short

Tony Smith was much happier with Chris Hill and the rest of his forwards

Joel Monaghan opened the scoring after juggling Gareth O'Brien's chip to the corner

First published in Wolves news
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WARRINGTON Wolves have lost their opening two games of the season for the first time in five years.

Tony Smith's men went within inches of rescuing an undeserved point during an enthralling end to their 18-12 defeat at Headingley Stadium, but would probably admit that Leeds were worthy winners.

Having been second best for much of the first half and unable to make a breakthrough during the second, Wolves produced a late flurry to cut the deficit through Ben Westwood and give the hosts a scare in the final five minutes.

Though it was an improvement on the opening week performance against St Helens, Wolves will still be kicking themselves after failing to make the most of chances to snatch a point at the death.

It had all looked so promising after the opening try from Joel Monaghan, but perpetual mistakes in the first half and an inability to unlock Leeds’ line defence after the break meant home scores from Zak Hardaker, two, and Tom Briscoe were enough to earn the two points.

After a tentative start from both sides, Wolves were the first to threaten after six minutes. The first spell of pressure came after a three-man tackle forced Chris Clarkson to knock on near half way, though Wolves’ first set near the Leeds line ended with a poor grubber kick from Richie Myler.

The next two sets were much more productive, with Wolves having won possession back following Danny McGuire’s inability to secure a charge down 10m inside his own half. Ryan Atkins was held inches short on the first set, but a grubber from Myler forced a goal-line drop-out and from that Wolves opened the scoring. A pin-point chip to the corner from Gareth O’Brien found Joel Monaghan, though the prolific winger juggled the ball before touching down. Stefan Ratchford added the extras.

But that was to be as good as it got for Wolves in the opening 40 minutes. From that point Leeds began to control of the game, aided by plenty of Warrington mistakes. Kallum Watkins’ subsequent break was only halted by Ratchford’s fine covering tackle and that was only the start of Wolves’ troubles.

Zak Hardaker restored parity on 20 minutes, with the England full back latching on to Tom Briscoe’s grubber. There was a chance of a forward pass in the build-up from Watkins, but it was not spotted by the touch judge and Kevin Sinfield made it 6-6 from the kicking tee.

It only got worse, with Leeds twice being denied tries by the video referee in the following 15 minutes. A penalty conceded by Micky Higham and a knock-on from Ryan Atkins preceded Ryan Hall’s dash to the corner, which was only denied by fine covering defence from Joel Monaghan and Chris Bridge.

Rhinos were camped on Wolves’ line, though the visitors were replying with some solid defence. Lost possession, a wiped tackle count and a penalty gave Leeds ample opportunity to take the lead, but Wolves were scrambling to keep them at bay.

That was until Atkins produced his second knock on in 10 minutes, dropping Trent Waterhouse’s long pass with no pressure around him. It was one mistake too many for Warrington, who were only saved when Tom Briscoe narrowly missed McGuire’s grubber between the sticks.

But Wolves’ relief was short-lived, as Leeds finally broke their defence with 36 minutes gone. Hardaker’s excellent flat pass sent Briscoe charging through the line and he tied Ratchford in knots before shrugging off Ben Currie to score. Sinfield made no mistakes with the conversion and Rhinos took a deserved 12-6 lead.

There was a flash of brilliance from O’Brien just before the break, his dart through the line and pass to Bridge giving Wolves a chance to level. But Bridge’s kick inside was cleared by Carl Ablett and Wolves trooped in six points behind.

The start of the second half was better for Wolves, though they wasted a golden chance to draw level after 50 minutes. Some sustained pressure built by an O’Brien grubber and Ryan Bailey’s dropped ball resulted in three attempts at the Leeds line, but all fell short. Two strong drives were held up and Ratchford made an error of judgement when attempting to cut inside with the try line beckoning. Perhaps attempting to cut the angle for the conversion that should have followed, he was halted before he could reach the line by Zak Hardaker.

Leeds, and Hardaker in particular, made them pay for that immediately. Moving up the other end quickly, Rhinos’ impressive full back crossed for his second of the game after 59 minutes. On the last tackle and with seemingly few options on, Hardaker threw Myler and Ratchford a dummy and darted over to hand his side an 18-6 advantage once Sinfield had added the extras.

Wolves were not without chances of their own though, as they spent an unproductive spell on Leeds’ line in the following five minutes. Back-to-back penalties and two knock ons inside the 10m line gave Warrington a chance of reducing the deficit, but time and time again they fell short against the hosts’ excellent line defence. Michael Monaghan, Roy Asotasi and O’Brien were all held short, before Myler’s overcooked chip to the corner ended Wolves’ best spell of possession since their opening try.

Sinfield’s missed drop goal attempt soon after meant Wolves still required two tries to draw level in the final seven minutes, and they almost managed it. Having looked completely toothless in the preceding 10 minutes, Wolves cut the gap to six courtesy of the aptly named ‘super’ Bennie Westwood, who produced a super-human show of strength to crawl to the line with three on his back. Ratchford’s conversion made it 18-12 after 77 minutes.

Warrington then went within an inch of snatching a draw. With seconds remaining, Myler ghosted through the Leeds line and his pass almost sent O’Brien over on the right, only for him to be dragged down next to the line. A final speculative grubber went close to sending Gene Ormsby over in the corner, but Briscoe was on hand to ensure Wolves suffered their second consecutive loss of the year.

Leeds: Zak Hardaker; Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall; Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire; Kylie Leuluai, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock, Carl Ablett, Brett Delaney, Chris Clarkson. Subs: Paul Aiton, Ryan Bailey, Stevie Ward, Brad Singleton.

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Gene Ormsby, Gareth O'Brien, Richie Myler, Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Roy Asotasi, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix. Subs: Anthony England, Michael Monaghan, Ben Currie, Ben Evans.

Comments (13)

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11:37pm Fri 21 Feb 14

dnk says...

We were much better tonight, ormsby gave a good account of himself,our pack stood up to the challenge ,think our halves are not firing on all cylinders but were getting there.Neex a big game from Myler.
We were much better tonight, ormsby gave a good account of himself,our pack stood up to the challenge ,think our halves are not firing on all cylinders but were getting there.Neex a big game from Myler. dnk
  • Score: 7

11:49pm Fri 21 Feb 14

MAD 4 IT says...

ATKINS has to be dropped next ! 4 big mistakes he made at least !
ATKINS has to be dropped next ! 4 big mistakes he made at least ! MAD 4 IT
  • Score: 6

10:06am Sat 22 Feb 14

ninearches says...

Much improved performance ,patience will deliver its own reward.
Much improved performance ,patience will deliver its own reward. ninearches
  • Score: 5

11:01am Sat 22 Feb 14

MAD 4 IT says...

"DROP" ATKINS ! 2 KNOCK-ONS in 10mins SHOCKING ! PLUS PLENTY of other MISTAKES !
"DROP" ATKINS ! 2 KNOCK-ONS in 10mins SHOCKING ! PLUS PLENTY of other MISTAKES ! MAD 4 IT
  • Score: 3

5:00pm Sat 22 Feb 14

roquetas says...

I agree if he does not perform. De mote him to reserve number 4 i mean we r not a patch on last years the fire. Hasgone out of our bellies
I agree if he does not perform. De mote him to reserve number 4 i mean we r not a patch on last years the fire. Hasgone out of our bellies roquetas
  • Score: 1

8:39pm Sat 22 Feb 14

MAD 4 IT says...

"the fire" is still in wires bellys CERTAIN players are not PERFORMING !
1, chris riley=so he was dropped !
2, ryan atkins=surely must be DROPPED now after yet another SHOCKING mistake ridden performance !
3, rob myler=he not got a good kicking game ! o`brian showing myler up ALREADY !
SO "AXE" all 3 of the above 3 players and bring in PENNY on wing, russell at full back, ormsby centre.RATCHFORD stand off. o`brian scrum half !!
"the fire" is still in wires bellys CERTAIN players are not PERFORMING ! 1, chris riley=so he was dropped ! 2, ryan atkins=surely must be DROPPED now after yet another SHOCKING mistake ridden performance ! 3, rob myler=he not got a good kicking game ! o`brian showing myler up ALREADY ! SO "AXE" all 3 of the above 3 players and bring in PENNY on wing, russell at full back, ormsby centre.RATCHFORD stand off. o`brian scrum half !! MAD 4 IT
  • Score: 0

12:59am Sun 23 Feb 14

pennstate says...

Could not agree more, and that was my point before the season started. A few players are going to take a batterig this year unless everyone steps up. Obrien needs some inspiration around him, to be really effective, I just think we should have bought a new halfback with some top class NRL experience to provide direction.
On another note after the Wigan showing and following the Burgess defection we are moving into the second division of sports. Has anyone noticed on the BBC sports web page we have been dropped as a headliner and can now be found in other sports. I would rather have a sleepy night in Sale rather than watch second rate sportsmen. You force all teams to improve like the wire did, and not tie the hands of sccessful clubs.. US Basketball in the 70's recovered by promoting big names and attracting kids to the game. Rooney proved it 'if you will pay them they will come'!
Could not agree more, and that was my point before the season started. A few players are going to take a batterig this year unless everyone steps up. Obrien needs some inspiration around him, to be really effective, I just think we should have bought a new halfback with some top class NRL experience to provide direction. On another note after the Wigan showing and following the Burgess defection we are moving into the second division of sports. Has anyone noticed on the BBC sports web page we have been dropped as a headliner and can now be found in other sports. I would rather have a sleepy night in Sale rather than watch second rate sportsmen. You force all teams to improve like the wire did, and not tie the hands of sccessful clubs.. US Basketball in the 70's recovered by promoting big names and attracting kids to the game. Rooney proved it 'if you will pay them they will come'! pennstate
  • Score: 3

12:31pm Sun 23 Feb 14

wolfitdown says...

Things are not quite right at the moment but as stated earlier we are rebuilding it takes time I believe TS and the players will get it right, O'Brien should be given a chance but feel TS wants Ratchford in at six so its up to Myler to play for his place, if one or all three don't match up which I doubt, then changes will be made when necessary, buying for the sake of it is not TS's way.
Things are not quite right at the moment but as stated earlier we are rebuilding it takes time I believe TS and the players will get it right, O'Brien should be given a chance but feel TS wants Ratchford in at six so its up to Myler to play for his place, if one or all three don't match up which I doubt, then changes will be made when necessary, buying for the sake of it is not TS's way. wolfitdown
  • Score: 1

5:16pm Sun 23 Feb 14

roquetas says...

If everyone had the Same class as joel we'd be at the top of super league not 2nd from bottom. But Perhaps i was too hasty to tar the team with the Same brush. Its 50/50. But those That dont perform should be dropped explain tony Smith. Why buy Kevin penny and insult him by not playing him? Have u Any explanation to your logic?
If everyone had the Same class as joel we'd be at the top of super league not 2nd from bottom. But Perhaps i was too hasty to tar the team with the Same brush. Its 50/50. But those That dont perform should be dropped explain tony Smith. Why buy Kevin penny and insult him by not playing him? Have u Any explanation to your logic? roquetas
  • Score: 3

9:21am Mon 24 Feb 14

flashcoffy says...

Kevin Penny has been brought in to the squad to provide depth not to be a guaranteed starter he wasnt a marquee signing by a longshot so it no insult to him.

Ormsby gave a really good account of himself and showed confidence taking in a few drives.

Were playing with a massively changed squad but were in transition. Its nonsensical to talk about being 2nd from bottom after 2 games.
Kevin Penny has been brought in to the squad to provide depth not to be a guaranteed starter he wasnt a marquee signing by a longshot so it no insult to him. Ormsby gave a really good account of himself and showed confidence taking in a few drives. Were playing with a massively changed squad but were in transition. Its nonsensical to talk about being 2nd from bottom after 2 games. flashcoffy
  • Score: 1

8:14pm Mon 24 Feb 14

ninearches says...

I don't think we'll be near the bottom after a few weeks when the team has started to deliver.
I don't think we'll be near the bottom after a few weeks when the team has started to deliver. ninearches
  • Score: 1

5:07pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Bewseylad says...

We are no worse off than last year as we lost at home to Saints, away to Leeds and hope it's not an omen, but we also lost at home to this week's opposition Hul F.C. Onwards and upwards.
We are no worse off than last year as we lost at home to Saints, away to Leeds and hope it's not an omen, but we also lost at home to this week's opposition Hul F.C. Onwards and upwards. Bewseylad
  • Score: 0

8:51pm Wed 26 Feb 14

grey-area says...

I think Mr Atkins needs to sharpen up a bit, to play at this level. He has not had the greatest start to the season. Tackling very poor at the moment and please please please learn how to pass a ball - at the right time. This is basic centre play.

As for Richie Skelton-Myler (please sign his action girl wife), he is ok. I recall not too long ago, people getting on Lee Briers back. For the stars to shine, we have to get the basics right.

Could do with cutting out daft penalties for messing around "ball stealing" in the tackle.
I think Mr Atkins needs to sharpen up a bit, to play at this level. He has not had the greatest start to the season. Tackling very poor at the moment and please please please learn how to pass a ball - at the right time. This is basic centre play. As for Richie Skelton-Myler (please sign his action girl wife), he is ok. I recall not too long ago, people getting on Lee Briers back. For the stars to shine, we have to get the basics right. Could do with cutting out daft penalties for messing around "ball stealing" in the tackle. grey-area
  • Score: 1

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