Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Warrington Wolves 37 Leeds Rhinos 18
WARRINGTON Wolves brilliantly bounced back from last week’s loss to defeat Super League champions Leeds Rhinos at a wet and windy Halliwell Jones Stadium.
After the disappointment of blowing an 18-point lead in the rain at Hull KR, Wolves were looking to return to form against the side that ended their Grand Final ambitions last year and did so emphatically when scoring five unanswered tries to open a 30-0 lead in the first half.
A brace from young half back Gareth O’Brien, who combined superbly with Briers for both his tries, and two for Chris Riley were added to Trent Waterhouse’s opener to all but secure Wolves’ victory in the first half, with Ryan Atkins’ second half try and Briers’ drop goal completing the host’s scoring.
Wolves got the perfect start, riding their luck to strike a blow after only two minutes. Gareth O’Brien’s pass looked to have killed the momentum, only for excellent play from Ryan Atkins to keep the ball alive. He drew defenders before slipping Chris Riley up the wing, and the winger’s attempted grubber was fumbled by the Leeds defence to allow Trent Waterhouse to slide over and open the scoring. Hodgson added the extras.
Last week Wolves had suffered in the wet conditions, but now it was Leeds’ turn to struggle, with a huge hit dislodging the ball from Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s grasp to gift Wolves another bite at the cherry almost immediately after their opening try. The hosts took full advantage, doubling their lead thanks to some lovely play from Lee Briers, who scuttled sideways and delayed his pass perfectly to find Hodgson. Hodgson’s cut-out pass missed Atkins but found Riley, who cut inside and finished with aplomb. Hodgson kicked the touchline conversion to make it 12-0 after only five minutes.
Leeds were struggling to keep a lid on Warrington in the opening 10 minutes, Briers’ grubber forcing a goal line drop-out to keep the visitors pinned back. That pressure allowed Warrington to run in a third try with 11 minutes gone, Briers’ perfectly weighted grubber cutting through the Rhinos defence and finding O’Brien in space to drop on the ball. Hodgson’s goal made it 18-0.
The champions had enjoyed few chances at Wolves’ line up to this point, so when Shaun Lunt fumbled the ball with the try line at his mercy it was obvious that it was not going to be the best of nights for the visitors.
Those fears were confirmed minutes later, when once again the combination of Briers and O’Brien struck to extend the hosts’ lead. Briers’ wonderful high bomb wrong-footed the Leeds defence, who were expecting a kick to the corner, and O’Brien pounced with a superb finish just inside the line. The video referee debated whether his foot had been in touch when the ball went down, but he gave the young half back the benefit of the doubt and he notched his second try in 10 minutes. Hodgson again added the extras.
The Leeds fans could be forgiven for thinking that they were in for another bad night after last week’s embarrassment against Wigan, and Wolves’ fifth try meant they were staring down the barrel of another big score. O’Brien had another hand in the action, breaking through a gaping hole in Leeds’ defence after a pass from Riley. The in-form winger then showed a tremendous turn of foot to chase after O’Brien and receive the pass that left Brent Webb stranded, sliding over between the sticks to give Hodgson another simple goal to make it 30-0.
But there was still time for Leeds to find a foothold, Rob Burrow sending Kevin Sinfield over on the left with six minutes remaining to ironic cheers from the travelling support. The chants of ‘we should have beat Wigan’ rang out as Sinfield converted his own try, and Rhinos trooped in at half time with work to do after being dominated by the hosts.
They started that work early in the second half, making the most of Ben Harrison’s mistake at a play-the-ball to score straight from the resulting scrum. Wolves grasped at thin air as Rob Burrow peeled off the scrum and weaved his way through, the diminutive half back skipping through attempted tackles on his way to the line. Sinfield added the extras to reduce the deficit to 30-12 after 46 minutes.
Stefan Ratchford had replaced Brett Hodgson at the break, with the Aussie full back sustaining an injury in the first half, and the former Salford man made a decent start when sending Joel Monaghan free up the wing after fielding a Sinfield kick. Wolves worked their way in front of the posts on the last tackle and O’Brien’s grubber almost bounced kindly for Micky Higham, only to rebound off his shoulder and out of play.
The game was then subject to a lengthy stop, with Ian Kirke being carried from the field after a nasty clash of heads with Ben Westwood.
The second half had been something of a damp squib after the excitement of the first, with both teams taking time to get into their stride after the restart. Briers’ drop goal then put Wolves four tries clear of a Leeds side who were starting to hold their own after a poor start.
Burrow’s second of the evening reduced the gap to three tries, Brett Delaney breaking through two tackles on the left edge before slipping his teammate through a gap to sprint away and score to the left of the posts. Sinfield’s goal made it 31-18 with a little over 10 minutes remaining.
But any hopes the visitors had of snatching something from the game disappeared when Ryan Atkins charged through two defenders to cap an excellent performance. The ball was whipped out to the wing with Wolves poised within five metres of Leeds’ line and Atkins carried two defenders over the line with him as he touched down his 16th Super League try of the season. Gareth O’Brien, deputising for the injured Hodgson, continued his fine kicking form with a composed touchline conversion, taking the final score to 37-18.
Wolves: Brett Hodgson; Chris Bridge, Joel Monaghan, Ryan Atkins, Chris Riley; Lee Briers, Gareth O’Brien; Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Garreth Carvell, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Ben Harrison. Subs: Adrian Morley, Simon Grix, Mike Cooper, Stefan Ratchford.
Leeds: Brent Webb; Ben Jones-Bishop, Carl Ablett, Zak Hardaker, Ryan Hall; Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow; Kylie Leuluai, Shaun Lunt, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Brett Delaney, Ryan Bailey. Subs: Stevie Ward, Darrell Griffin, Ian Kirke, Chris Clarkson.