WARRINGTON Wolves fielded their strongest Reserves line-up of the year as they concluded their league campaign with a win at Leeds Rhinos.

Tries from Greg Minikin, Leon Hayes and Josh Lynch – all of whom have first-team experience - helped The Wire win 18-16 at Headingley, a pulsating match that was played after the Super League between the two clubs on Sunday.

England international Connor Wrench featured, as did another Super League regular Joe Bullock, while the other players on show with first-team games under their belt were Riley Dean, recently recalled from his loan at Castleford Tigers; Luke Thomas, Adam Holroyd and Tom Whitehead.

Wolves sadly lost prop Bullock after eight minutes and stand-off Dean at half time due to injury.

The Wire are currently sixth in the 14-team table and will finish no lower than eighth, depending on results for Wakefield Trinity and Hull KR in their remaining matches.

Only the bottom four teams have conceded more points than The Wire currently over the course of the campaign, while they are the fifth highest scorers at this stage.

St Helens or Wigan Warriors will finish the season as top dogs.

Saints are currently at the summit on points difference but have completed their fixtures, while Wigan have one match remaining.

Wolves dug really deep to thwart a second-half fightback from Leeds, whose ranks were also littered with quality players.

Warrington opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

After forcing a goal-line drop out a strong carry from Bullock put his side deep into the Rhinos half and then after fellow prop Thomas had been held just short a superb long looping ball from scrum-half Hayes cut out three defenders and found winger Lynch in space to score wide out on the left.

Dean converted and then Rhinos kicked the ball out on the full from the restart and the resulting penalty paid dividends for Wolves as Hayes ducked under an attempted tackle to score at the side of the posts. Dean again added the conversion.

Midway through the half an error from Wolves in their own half gave Rhinos possession and quick hands out wide saw the ball reach winger Liam Tindall who squeezed over in the left corner. Scrum-half Jack Sinfield converted from the touchline.

Three minutes before the break Wolves moved down field and a short ball from Dean found centre Minikin at speed to break through the line and score on the right. Dean added the conversion to give his side an 18-6 half-time advantage.

The second half proved to be a real arm-wrestle with both sides’ defences on top and it wasn’t until 10 minutes before the end that Rhinos gave themselves a lifeline when a high kick from stand-off Fergus McCormack was fumbled by Wolves and the home side kept the ball alive and it reached substitute Morgan Gannon who managed to ground the ball with three defenders on him.

Shortly afterwards a great break down the left by Tindall saw him then find centre Ned McCormack who broke out of a tackle to score a fine try at the left of the posts. Substitute Riley Lumb added the conversion to set up a grandstand finish but Wolves calmly saw the game out to claim a richly deserved and win.

Wolves Reserves head coach Ryan O’Brian said: “It was good to finish with what was undoubtably our best performance of the year at this level.

“Apart from the first quarter, which was pretty much faultless, we were scrappy and made a lot of errors that put us under pressure.

“However, we made up for that with toughness, resilience, and a desire to keep Leeds out.

“Everybody played their part, but Greg Minikin and Leon Hayes in particular were outstanding for the full 80 minutes.

“Noah High was also very good on his return after a long lay-off, which is testament to the hard work he has put into his rehabilitation over the past six months.”

Wolves team against Leeds: Jake Thewlis, Connor Wrench, Greg Minikin, Jack Darbyshire, Josh Lynch, Riley Dean, Leon Hayes, Joe Bullock, Aiden Doolan, Luke Thomas, Adam Holroyd, Nolan Tupaea, Tom Whitehead. Subs: Adam Whalley, Noah High, Bobby Shingler, Jamie Reddecliff. 18th man: Sam Marshall