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Marshall: Tough tie just what we needed before Grand Final
7:36am Monday 24th September 2012 in Wolves news
WARRINGTON Wolves’ under 20s will play Leeds Rhinos in the Valvoline Cup Grand Final.
Two play-offs wins against St Helens, including a 42-26 victory at the weekend, hands them a showdown with Leeds at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday, kick off 1pm.
Wolves have now reached the Grand Final two years running and Richard Marshall’s men will be hoping to clinch the silverware this time to add to the League Leaders’ Shield.
It was a very hard fought win against Saints in the qualifying semi final in the curtain-raiser to the Super League play-offs tie with Hull Wolves built up a commanding first-half lead despite not being at their best but a sterling fightback by Saints in the second half saw them threaten to pull off an unlikely win but the extra composure of the young Wolves in the dying moments of the game was enough to see them through.
Marshall said: “That was a very enjoyable game from our point of view and not just because we are through to our second successive Grand Final.
“It was a really hard fought encounter and that is what we needed at this stage and it will put us in good stead for the final next Saturday.
“We did make life harder for ourselves than we needed. In the first half alone we made six or seven errors and even though we went in 20 points ahead it could have been a lot more if we had respected the ball a bit more.
“We were still a little scrappy in the second half but we did defend resolutely and although Saints did come back at us we always managed to keep our noses in front and Ben Evans’ try put the game beyond doubt for us.
“It was a collective team effort with everybody playing their part, especially Ben Evans who got the all-important try at a crucial time and James Saltonstall who went over for a deserved hat-trick of tries.”
Warrington opened the scoring in the sixth minute.
A high kick to the corner by St Helens was caught superbly on his own try line by Wolves winger Rhys Williams and he then raced 80 metres down the left wing.
A couple of quick play the balls had the Saints defence stretched and a superb long ball from loose forward Matty Blythe cut out two defenders and found winger Saltonstall who went over in the right corner.
St Helens hit back nine minutes later when a penalty put them deep into Wolves territory and a fine short ball from scrum half Danny Yates found second row Joe Greenwood who powered over at the side of the posts. Full back Lee Gaskell converted to put his side ahead for the one and only time but that lead was short lived.
A high kick to the corner by Wolves scrum half Bobbie Goulding saw centre Ryan Shaw leap highest to palm the ball back to second row Ben Currie and he managed to pass back to Shaw who scored at the side of the posts. Shaw converted his own try.
Straight from the restart Currie broke clear and found Shaw who raced 60 metres, turning Gaskell inside out on a stunning run to score wide out on the left.
Again he added the conversion himself and then just after the half hour mark quick hands from left to right saw the ball reach centre Rhys Evans and his superb offload put Saltonstall over in the right corner.
Then right on the stroke of half time good work close to the line saw stand off James Mendeika step round the static Saints defence to score at the right of the posts. Shaw goaled the latter to give his side a 26-6 interval advantage.
Saints started strongly in the second half and were rewarded seven minutes into it when a kick to the left corner by Gaskell saw winger Greg Wilde react quickest to collect and score.
Gaskell converted and then 10 minutes later slick passing by Saints stretched the Wolves defence and left a gap for Gaskell to go through and score on the right.
The visitors now had their tails up and they closed the gap further when more good hands saw Gaskell find centre Adam Swift who stepped round the Wolves defence to score in the right corner but they then knocked on from the kick off and from the resulting scrum Wolves hooker Brad Dwyer went down the blind side and found Rhys Evans who put Saltonstall over in the right corner to complete his hat-trick.
Saints refused to lie down and when a short ball from Yates found Greenwood at speed to power over under the posts the game was well and truly back in the melting pot as Gaskell’s conversion meant that the deficit was down to just four points.
But two minutes from time Wolves made the game safe when prop forward Ben Evans somehow managed to stretch out and put the ball over the line despite having four Saints defenders all over him. Goulding added on the goal points.
Right on the full time whistle a great break down the middle by Rhys Evans saw him step round two players before finding full back Jordan Burke in support to race over. Goulding converted to round off an impressive success.
Wolves: Jordan Burke; James Saltonstall, Rhys Evans, Ryan Shaw, Rhys Williams; James Mendeika, Bobbie Goulding; Glenn Riley, Brad Dwyer, Ben Evans, James Laithwaite, Ben Currie, Matty Blythe. Subs: Brooke Broughton, Liam Hulme, Danny Bridge, Jack Morrison.