SOMETHING is not right at Warrington Wolves.

As glorious and memorable as it was, winning the Challenge Cup appears to have papered over some pretty sizeable cracks.

If Wire fans were hoping their trip to Headingley would see their side gain some form of momentum heading into the play-offs, they were to be gravely disappointed once again.

From the very first minute when Blake Austin dropped the kick off, followed quickly by Daryl Clark’s sin-binning, it looked like it was going to be one of those nights.

> 'It was embarrassing' – Hill on Wire's Headingley horror show

That said, they actually controlled their period without Clark pretty well, with Austin and Matty Smith coming up with some decent kicks to force Leeds back.

However, they never came up with a spell of pinning the Rhinos back and taking full advantage, thanks in no small part to some shocking tackle management.

One-on-one misses, allowing for offloads and penalties given away – it really was a smorgasbord of nightmares for a defence The Wire like to pride themselves on.

> VIDEO: Price slams 'unacceptable' Wire display

It may have taken Leeds half an hour to take the lead but once they did, there was only going to be one winner.

They played with an intensity we have not seen from Warrington in a Super League game for some time – you would have thought it was them playing for a more favourable play-off position rather than just to send off a retiring legend in Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

The fact they were out-enthused by a side with nothing to play for is as damning an indictment of this Wire performance as you can get.

Somehow, they have contrived to finish fourth in what has been a two-horse race all season.

They have limped into the play-offs and now their route to Old Trafford is fraught with jeopardy. One more defeat will end their season.

> Wire's play-off route confirmed

Those inside the camp rightly point out that knock-out games have brought the best out of the team this year.

That is all well and good, but what does that say about the attitude within the squad?

Do they think they only need to turn up in five or six games per year and muddle through the rest? Only they can answer that.

Once again, they must dig deep and pull four rabbits from as many hats.

If they play in a similar manner to this Headingley horror show, however, they can kiss all hopes of the double goodbye.


. Wire’s fifth Super League away defeat in a row

. Run of three straight wins over Leeds is ended

. Tom Lineham makes his 200th career appearance


Super League, Round 29

Friday, September 13, 2019

Leeds Rhinos...26 Warrington Wolves...4

Rhinos: Jack Walker; Luke Briscoe, Liam Sutcliffe, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley; Robert Lui, Richie Myler; Adam Cuthbertson, Brad Dwyer, Nathaniel Peteru, Rhyse Martin, Stevie Ward, Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Subs: Cameron Smith, Brad Singleton, James Donaldson, Corey Johnson

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Toby King, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Matty Smith; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ben Currie, Jason Clark. Subs: Jack Hughes, Sitaleki Akauola, Ben Westwood. Not used: Jake Mamo

Scoring: Sutcliffe try, 31mins, Martin goal, 6-0; Martin penalty, 36mins, 8-0; Lui try, 56mins, Martin goal, 14-0; Charnley try, 69mins, 14-4; Cuthbertson try, 72mins, Jones-Buchanan goal, 20-4; Briscoe try, 80mins, Martin goal, 26-4

Penalties: Rhinos 8 Wolves 5

Sin bin: D Clark (10mins, professional foul)

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

Attendance: 14,085