Warrington Wolves. Tries: Penny, Ratchford, Atkins. Goals: Ratchforrd 3/4.
Leeds Rhinos. Tries: Briscoe. Goals: Sinfield 1/1.
Warrington Wolves ended Leeds Rhinos’ 100% start with a home victory built on steely defence in a game where tries were secondary to a series of big hits.
Tries from Kevin Penny and Stefan Ratchford, plus two conversions from Ratchford, gave the home side a 12-0 lead at half time. The Wolves maintained their grip on the game in the second 40 and were rewarded when Ryan Atkins took advantage of an error close to the line for a simple score.
Tom Briscoe got on the end of a well-worked team move to produce Leeds’ first try of the night but it wasn’t enough for the visitors who relinquished their spot at the top of the table to St. Helens.
Warrington dominated for large periods, their steely defensive efforts keeping the Rhinos off the scoresheet going into the interval.
The travelling side took more than an hour to find any rhythm, Briscoe’s try coming too late to offer the visitors a realistic chance of lanuching a seroius comeback.
Penny grabbed the opening score when he skipped across the Rhinos’ defensive line, before straightening up to slide between Adam Cuthbertson and Stevie Ward and crossing despite the attentions of Ashton Golding.
Gareth O’Brien’s incisive grubber kick forced Leeds into a drop out and a similar piece of skill from O’Brien soon after set up Ratchford for his try.
Leeds trailed Hull FC 12-0 at half-time in their previous fixture, but while they scored 43 unanswered points at the KC Stadium last Thursday, Warrington’s forceful defence proved to be an immeasurably tougher prospect.
With no chances falling their way, frustration was clear to see from all associated with the Leeds side.
As they became desperate, Kevin Sinfield tried an expansive pass close to his own line but the ball went to ground and O’Brien scooped up before shifting the play to Atkins who relished his simple finish.
The score finally kicked the visitors into life and they showed their ominous ability in broken field as a series of supporting runners including Kallum Watkins combined to present Briscoe with the ball and he scooted past Matty Russell to go over.
But that was to be the last time Leeds troubled the scoreboard and Warrington held firm to move level on points with the Rhinos.
NothingButLeague Man of the Match: Stefan Ratchford.