Warrington Wolves Are Challenge Cup Winners 2012!
Leeds Rhinos 18 Warrington Wolves 35
By Rachel Arnett
Lance Todd Trophy Winner: Brett Hodgson
Match Stat: Adrian Morley's 150th Warrington appearance
Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos took to the Wembley pitch to face each other in this year's Carnegie Challenge Cup Final both aiming to lift that famous piece of silverware.
The Wolves won the title back in 2009 and 2010, and having missed out on an appearance last year were keen to reclaim the trophy. This was the third consecutive year for the Rhinos with the Yorkshire side hoping for their first win from the three having been runners up in the previous two.
The encounter saw a repeat of the 2010 Final in which the Wolves were victorious 30 points to six. But with a lot of rugby games under the bridge since then, there was everything to play for as form and previous results go out of the window. This was the Carnegie Challenge Cup anything can happen!
The first half was a tight affair with each team having periods of dominance and momentum. The all-important half-time lead went to the Wolves but with just two points separating the sides the game was too close to call after the opening forty. The Wolves picked up pace in the second half to see them widen the lead as momentum continued in their favour right up until the final hooter. Wolves are Challenge Cup Winners once again, for the third time in four years.
Leeds Rhinos got the game underway off the boot of Sinfield and the Wolves were the first team in attack.
The opening stages saw end-to-end from both teams with their cautious side on show. Wolves came close on five minutes following a high bomb from Briers but a penalty was given Leeds' way following Joel Monaghan and Ratchford's claiming of the ball.
A Wolves' try soon followed though. Hill drove the team forward to within 20 metres before passing out to Myler, whose chip kick to the corner found space to put Joel Monaghan over for the first score. Hodgson added the touchline conversion to make it 6-0 to Warrington after eight minutes.
This score spiced things up as both teams grew into the game striving for more. Leeds fired towards the line on 15 minutes through Hall on the wing looking for the equaliser but a great tackle by Joel Monaghan saw the ball come free and a knock-on from the Rhinos. A try saver for the Wolves.
It was a penalty awarded 15 metres out that gave the Rhinos the position they needed and within seconds Kirke had forced his way over the defence to touch down. Sinfield levelled the scores at 6-6 just as the heavens opened for a torrential downpour over Wembley.
The first quarter of the game complete and it was all square.
However, a high shot on Ablett by Wood gave away a penalty on 23 minutes. Leeds opted to slow the game down and lined up the penalty kick. Sinfield took the Rhinos into a two point lead. 8-6.
Riley then came close for the Wolves soon after, taking a high kick to the corner by Briers but unfortunately lost his grip in the tackle to deny a score.
It was, however, the Wolves who were next to score. A high shot from Griffin on Michael Monaghan gave Warrington a penalty from 40 metres out. They opted to run it and it paid off. Great drives from Morley and Wood gave the side a strong position before a quick pass from Myler saw Waterhouse force his way over to ground the ball between defenders. Hodgson added the extras. 8-12 to the Wolves.
The Wolves continued to build pressure forcing the Rhinos to step up their defence but this demand resulted in errors creeping in from Leeds. However, it was obstruction by the Wolves that saw the next points put on the board by the Rhinos as Sinfield added a two-point penalty.
This was the closing score of the half with Warrington going into the dressing room two-points ahead. 10-12.
It was the boot of Briers to get the second half underway and with the game on a knife-edge the tense atmosphere could be felt throughout the stadium.
Just three minutes into the half and a hard-hitting tackle by Leuluai took Hodgson to the ground and the ball came free for Delaney to pick up and touch down. The footage was looked at by the video referee and no try, scrum defence was the ruling, as Leuluai was deemed to have also knocked on after Hodgson's lost possession.
Leeds did come close in the corner soon after but were carried into touch to deny the score.
The Wolves went over for their third try of the match on 50 minutes. A long pass from Hodgson to Atkins on the left was timed well to open up space in the corner for Riley to score. The touchline conversion was just wide. 10-16 to Warrington as they edged further ahead.
The try spurred the Wolves on as they continued to pepper the line looking for more, with Hill coming to within what looked like a millimetre. It was Atkins who finally broke through in the same corner as the previous try, taking a pass from Hodgson. Hodgson added the tough conversion to make it 10-22.
The Wolves crossed again just minutes later. A great offload by Westwood off the ground was taken by McCarthy who flew through the gap to touch down. The try was awarded after the video referee analysed play before Hodgson converted to make it 10-28.
The Warrington side went into the final quarter 18 points in front. Then Briers stepped up to nudge the side further in front with one of his infamous drop-goals. 10-29.
Leeds weren't to be beaten yet though and Kallum Watkins followed up a kick to the corner to cross for the Rhinos' second on 70 minutes. Sinfield pulled the conversion wide keeping the score at 14-29.
Hodgson soon cancelled this out by throwing a dummy and darting over on 75 minutes. He converted his own try to make it 14-35.
Leeds kept fighting until the end as Watkins crossed for his second in the corner. But the game was already won and Warrington Wolves had once again won the famous silverware.
Zak Hardaker, Ben Jones-Bishop, Kallum Watkins, Carl Ablett, Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Kevin Sinfield, Kylie Leuluai, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Brett Delaney, Ryan Bailey
Subs: Ian Kirke, Darrell Griffin, Shaun Lunt, Jimmy Keinhorst
Tries: Kirke, Watkins (2)
Goals: Sinfield (3)
Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Stefan Ratchford, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan, Lee Briers, Richie Myler, Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Garreth Carvell, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Ben Harrison
Subs: Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Tyrone McCarthy
Tries: J Monaghan, Waterhouse, Riley, Atkins, McCarthy, Hodgson
Goals: Hodgson (5)
Drop Goals: Briers
Half Time: 10-12
25, Aug, 2012