Warrington East Past Rhinos To Set Up Challenge Cup Final Against Catalans
Warrington Wolves will meet Catalans Dragons in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final after they beat Leeds Rhinos in the second of two semi-finals held back-to-back at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Earlier in the day, Super League leaders Saints were stunned by the French team but the outcome of this game was not certainly not as surprising.
It's a trip to Wembley for Wolves coach Steve Price in his maiden season at the Halliwell Jones while Leeds are now free to concentrate on their Super League survival as they ready themselves for the Super 8 Qualifiers.
The Wolves raced into a 26-6 interval lead though when Adam Cuthbertson replied for the Rhinos early in the second half, the outcome was still in the balance.
Tyrone Roberts kicked Warrington into an early lead with a penalty but Leeds replied quickly when Ryan Hall squeezed over at the corner and Liam Sutcliffe added the extras to make it 6-2.
With Daryl Clark leading the charge, Warrington started to take a grip on the game and were especially damaging through the middle of the park.
Wolves almost increased their lead when Stefan Ratchford was put clear but he lost the ball close to the tryline.
They had more luck when winger Tom Lineham produced an outstanding turn of pace to race in from 90 metres as Warrington flatfooted Leeds with a worked move from the scrum. Roberts kicked the conversion.
Warrington's other winger Josh Charnley was next to score, producing a fine finish after a kick to the corner was plucked from the skies by Toby King ahead of the waiting Hall. Another goal from Roberts saw the Wolves get a bit of daylight at 14-6.
Two more tries before half-time meant Warrington had a foot in the Final. Kevin Brown got through after a show and go close to the Leeds tryline - his 150th career try on his 400th appearance. Roberts again added the goal.
Then on the stroke of half-time, Ben Murdoch-Masila powered through from 20 metres and Roberts was successful with the conversion.
It was crucial for Leeds to score first after the restart and they did through Cuthbertson, profiting from an incisive pass by former Warrington hooker Brad Dwyer. Sutcliffe added the goal.
Leeds continued to press hard and were unlucky to see a try disallowed for a forward pass in the 49th minute. If the try had been given, the rest of the half might have been a different story but Warrington made the most of their reprieve as Clark set up Charnley in the 58th minute, Roberts again kicking the goal plus a penalty moments later to make it 34-12.
With 11 minutes remaining, Toby King finished off a 70 metre Wolves attack with a cheeky finish and Roberts added the extras and there was still time for Bryson Goodwin and Lineham to add further scores.
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, T King, Charnley, Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood. Subs: Murdoch-Masila, G King, Patton, Philbin
Leeds: Walker, Briscoe, Handley, Sutcliffe, Hall, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Ferres, Ablett, Jones-Buchanan. Subs: Dwyer, Olezski, Peteru, Walters
Referee: Chris Kendall