BOOK the coaches. Reserve the hotel rooms. The Wire are heading back to Wembley.

In truth, the national stadium has become a bit of a home from home for Warrington and their legions of fans in recent times. In a little over two weeks, they will play there for the fifth time in the past decade.

Their latest trip to rugby league’s annual day out in the capital was booked in buccaneering, swashbuckling style.

They may have had spells of pressure, but Leeds never really stood a chance. Director of rugby Kevin Sinfield admitted as much post-match.

Steve Price and his troops will have seen the favourites beaten in stunning fashion in the first of Sunday’s last-four ties as St Helens were dispatched by a rampant Catalans side.

From minute one, The Wire were determined not to tread a similar path.

Particularly in the first half, once they had recovered from Ryan Hall’s early try, they carted Leeds back at almost every opportunity.

Even when forced to start deep inside their own half, yardage metres were easy to come by. They were exceptional in coming away from their own line.

Once Tom Lineham opened the scoring with a stunning long-range try straight from a scrum, Wolves barely looked back.

In a flash, they were 20 points to the good and looking like they could win by whatever margin they pleased.

Then, after the break, Leeds suddenly remembered they were in a game and woke up.

Price will be annoyed at the way Adam Cuthbertson was allowed to cut the deficit, while ex-Wire Richie Myler’s try that was disallowed for a forward pass was a crucial turning point.

Had that been given, the gap would have been down to eight points and who knows what would have happened from there.

However, The Wire refused to be budged. They seemed to know it would only take one more try to break Leeds’ spirit.

Once Josh Charnley got over for his second try, Rhinos heads duly dropped. The ease at which Toby King, Bryson Goodwin and Lineham were able to cross showed as much.

The Wire showed the ruthlessness their head coach had demanded of them – something that had deserted them in recent weeks.

That can only be positive moving forward, not just for the Wembley showpiece against Catalans Dragons but the big Super 8s games to come.

Wolves will head to Wembley as favourites whether they like it or not, but they showed on Sunday that this is a tag that does not weigh heavy on them.

On that display, they truly deserve the chance to mark Price’s first year at the club with some long-awaited silverware.


. Wire reach their fifth Challenge Cup Final in 10 years.

. Kevin Brown marks his 400th career appearance with his 150th career try.


Challenge Cup semi-final, Sunday, August 5, 2018

Warrington Wolves…48 Leeds Rhinos…12

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Toby King, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Kevin Brown, Tyrone Roberts; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Harvey Livett, Ben Westwood. Subs: Ben Murdoch-Masila, George King, Dec Patton, Joe Philbin.

Rhinos: Jake Walker; Tom Briscoe, Ash Handley, Liam Sutcliffe, Ryan Hall; Joel Moon, Richie Myler; Adam Cuthbertson, Matt Parcell, Brad Singleton, Brett Ferres, Carl Ablett, Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Subs: Brad Dwyer, Mikolaj Oledski, Nathaniel Peteru, Josh Walters.

Scoring: Roberts penalty, 9mins, 2-0; Hall try, 12mins, Sutcliffe goal, 2-6; Lineham try, 22mins, Roberts goal, 8-6; Charnley try, 24mins, Roberts goal, 14-6; Brown try, 30mins, Roberts goal, 20-6; Murdoch-Masila, 39mins, Roberts goal, 26-6; Cuthbertson try, 45mins, Sutcliffe goal, 26-12; Charnley try, 58mins, Roberts goal, 32-12; Roberts penalty, 75mins, 34-12; Toby King try, 69mins, Roberts goal, 40-12; Goodwin try, 75mins, 44-12; Lineham try, 79mins, 48-12.

Penalties: Wolves 6 Rhinos 3

Referee: Chris Kendall

Attendance: 26,086

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