WARRINGTON Wolves remain on the road to Wembley Stadium.

They got their bid to reach the final for the first time since winning the Challenge Cup back in 2019 off to a dramatic but successful start yesterday by edging past Catalans Dragons.

Matty Ashton’s last-gasp try settled a thriller at the Stade Gilbert Brutus and booked The Wire’s place in today’s quarter-final draw.

Here, our Warrington Wolves reporter Matt Turner examines five key talking points to emerge from the game…

Warrington Guardian:

The comeback kings of Perpignan

They did it again!

However they come about, two away victories against Catalans in just over a month is a mammoth effort and it is testament to the character clearly present in this group.

Partly through the expected Dragons onslaught and partly through their own faults, they were forced onto the back foot and a second consecutive first-hurdle exit from the Challenge Cup looked likely.

The critics were sharpening their knives once a 12-point lead went up in smoke but once again, they found a way to win.

Last year, they were doing the opposite – what a refreshing change!

Warrington Guardian: Matty Ashton celebrates scoring the winning tryMatty Ashton celebrates scoring the winning try (Image: Joe Richardson)

Wire needed everything they had again

Before this game, Daryl Powell commented that his side needed “everything they had” to come away from Perpignan victorious in Super League a few weeks ago.

On this occasion, they needed to empty the tank once again as they spent most of the second half repelling a seemingly relentless Catalans tide.

There were some tired bodies out there as the game entered the final stages but somehow, they found enough in their reserves to get themselves over the line.

Could they have been more convincing? Absolutely and we will come onto that, but the resilience they are showing to grind out these games is usually the sign of a top side.

Warrington Guardian: Matty Ashton tackles Catalans' Arthur RomanoMatty Ashton tackles Catalans' Arthur Romano (Image: SWPix.com)

Attack gets it right when it mattered

The Wire started the game very well, getting themselves into a 12-0 lead that could – and perhaps should – have been far bigger.

Indeed, they saw three would-be tries chalked off before the break – Peter Mata’utia sent Josh Drinkwater clear from a forward pass, Daryl Clark knocked on just short of the line and Mata’utia was pulled back from a clean run to the line for an obstruction.

With some better execution, they could have made things much more comfortable for themselves but as it happened, they left themselves vulnerable to the Catalans comeback that followed.

With more sloppiness with the ball after the break and a failure to make the most of Michael McIlorum’s time in the sin-bin – they were ahead when he left the field but behind when he returned – it looked as though it would be a case of rueing chances missed.

Not so as they clicked when it really mattered to get Ashton over for the game-breaker.

Warrington Guardian: Matty Ashton dives over for the game's opening tryMatty Ashton dives over for the game's opening try (Image: Joe Richardson/Warrington Wolves)

Second stints critical

On quite a few occasions this season, the second stints of Wire’s starting middles have proved pivotal in turning the game their way.

This was the case again in Perpignan as Paul Vaughan, James Harrison and Daryl Clark lifted the side when they returned from the bench.

Before that point, Catalans were starting to find holes in a tired-looking middle third but the aforementioned trio helped to shore that up.

To many, the sign of a good forward is your second stint being as effective as your first and plenty of Wire’s big men are showing exactly that.

Warrington Guardian: Daryl Clark looks to take on Dragons full-back Arthur MourgueDaryl Clark looks to take on Dragons full-back Arthur Mourgue (Image: Joe Richardson/Warrington Wolves)

Can Wire compete on two fronts?

Barring a catastrophe in the second half of the campaign, it looks as though Warrington can expect to be competing at the sharp end of Super League in a few months.

However, this group has a chance to show how deep they can really dig as they now compete on two fronts.

The road to Wembley may look short with the arch now being just two victories away, but there are still some huge obstacles that could block their path.

With some big tests coming up in league competition too, not least Friday’s trip to in-form neighbours Leigh Leopards, it will be interesting to see how Wire balance their pursuit of all the trophies available.

Warrington Guardian: Danny Walker celebrates at full timeDanny Walker celebrates at full time (Image: Joe Richardson/Warrington Wolves)