|Warrington (8) 32|
|Tries: King, Ashton 2, Currie, D. Clark Goals: Ratchford 6|
|Leeds (6) 6|
|Try: Walters Goal: O’Connor|
Warrington Wolves moved into Super League’s top four with victory over a Leeds Rhinos side who have an eye on Saturday’s Challenge Cup final.
Stefan Ratchford’s penalty goal was all that separated the teams at half-time, after Rhinos back-rower Sam Walters cancelled out Toby King’s score.
Ben Currie’s late line-ball put Matty Ashton in, and provider turned scorer for the Wire’s crucial third try.
Daryl Clark and Ashton crossed late on as the young Rhinos tired.
With Saturday’s Wembley meeting with Salford Red Devils to come, this was an inexperienced Leeds line-up.
But they showed tremendous character, skill and particularly stamina to stay in the hunt as long as they did against a strong Wire side.
Try-scorer Walters impressed, using his power and bulk to give an equally strong Wolves pack a physical test, while Jarrod O’Connor at hooker and Jack Broadbent stood up particularly in defence.
Rhinos coach Richard Agar gave the same crop of academy players a run-out before their semi-final win over Wigan, and they rewarded that faith with another strong display.
Warrington showed glimpses of the class possessed by their near full-strength squad, with King at his best in the air for his own try and for the score from Currie – who had some inspired touches.
The back end of the game saw their class and extra conditioning tell, as the score blew out and the Primrose and Blue finally exerted their control on the game.
Warrington head coach Steve Price:
“It was scrappy at times but we got the result. We had a high level of intent at the start but I just thought we had it upside down after that – we passed before we ran and it bit us on the backside.
“We got bogged down on our tryline and indiscipline crept in.
“We spoke at half-time about how the opportunities would come and that’s how it transpired.
“A bit of execution needs to improve but at the end of the day it was a good win for us.”
Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar:
“I thought the effort, determination and commitment was incredible. At half-time the boys were really excited about coming out for the second half.
“We had a couple of backs drop out late and that was the 17 we had, we had a couple of guys playing out of position; so scoring points against a good defensive team was always going to be a challenge.
“With 20 minutes to go we took the decision to look after a couple of guys who could have a stint at the weekend and it was understandable that it blew out in the last 15 minutes – for some of the guys it was their second game in Super League.”
Warrington: Ratchford; Ashton, Gelling, King, Charnley; Widdop, Patton; Hill, Walker, Robson, Currie, Hughes, J Clark.
Interchanges: D Clark, Davis, Akauola, Johnson.
Leeds: Walker; Briscoe, Thompson, Evans, Tindall; Broadbent, McLelland; Cuthbertson, O’Connor, Holroyd, Ferres, Walters, Smith.
Interchanges: Harrison, Mustapha, McConnell, Whiteley.
Referee: Chris Kendall.