Warrington Wolves shine to an impressive 26-6 victory over the Leeds Rhinos at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. Tries from Stefan Ratchford, Blake Austin, Daryl Clark and Josh Charnley gave the Wire the perfect start to 2019.
The game started in a tug of war between the two sides and burst into life in the 10th minute, following a break made by Ash Handley, and passing to Konrad Hurell, who was held back by Jack Hughes. Hughes was then sent to the sin bin for the incident.
However, although being a man down, Wire struck first with Stefan Ratchford finding a way over the line, after a Dec Patton pass. Ratchford added the extras.
Steve Price’s men were given back-to-back penalties, and then eventually took the two on the 22nd minute.
Back to a full side and the Wire struck again, after some fast plays behind the ruck allowed Ryan Atkins to get the ball to Josh Charnley, with the winger diving in at the corner. Stefan Ratchford added the extras.
The final points of the half came through Daryl Clark, who was able to keep his balance as he stumbled across under the sticks. Ratchford with the extras again to give Warrington a 20-0 lead going into half time.
The second half was a much tighter affair with fans having to wait until the 60th minute for the first points of the half with man of the moment, Blake Austin, teaming up with Toby King to get past Jack Walker, and Austin finishing it off. Ratchford adding the extras.
King was then sent to the bin for a dump tackle on Stevie Ward, leaving the Wolves down to 12 men again.
Leeds did get a consaltion try through Ward, scoring near the sticks and Tui Lolohea added the extras.
Leeds have a short turn around as they look to bounce back. They face bottom of the table Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium. As for the Wolves, they look to make it two from two against Tim’s Sheens Hull KR next Saturday at home, following their victory against Hull FC in the last six seconds of the game.
The main talking point coming into this one was Wolves new signing, Blake Austin, and how he will play in Super League. Although he did look rusty at the start, the marquee name of 2019 showed why he is favourite for Man of Steel: he way he controlled the line through his lethal kicking game, short passing game and killer line running. He will be someone who will only get better and better.
Furner’s Learning Curve
David Furner had a tough game to begin his tenure at Leeds. It could be said that his team have had time to learn, playing five pre-season games. However, the new coach feels that his team didn’t “show what they were capable of”. He added: “The first half summed it up, we had an opportunity to put pressure on and we didn’t. We didn’t get the opportunity to build pressure, we were too busy coming out of our end. We allowed them to offload too easily, so that’s something we need to look at.”
One positive for the Rhinos was new centre Konrad Hurell. The Tongan international brought some much-needed aggression into the Leeds side at times when competing against Ryan Atkins. Although it wasn’t a career defining performance, he had enough persona and strong lines in his first competitive outing as a Rhino, something that could give the Headingley faithful something to be optimistic about as the season develops.
Stefan Ratchford showed why he was one of the best in the game, scoring the Wolves first try of 2019, kicking 5 goals, and also being all over the park. Putting in a man of the match performance by being all over the park in attack, and in defence making key tackles in the big moments. Ratchford was ruthless in all aspects of the game and his partnership with Blake Austin, will only get better as a 1 and 7 combo.
Warrington Wolves 26
Tries: Charnley, Austin, Ratchford, D. Clark
Goals: Ratchford (5)
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds Rhinos 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Hughes, King, Westwood.
Interchanges: Philbin, Walker, Murdoch-Masila, Clark.
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Merrin, Ferres, Sutcliffe, Ward.
Interchanges: Dwyer, Donaldson, Oledzki, Singleton.