Wolves take giant step closer to Wembley
Warrington Wolves 44 - Huddersfield Giants 24
By Alan Domville (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst, P&B Pictures)
Warrington Wolves reach Tetleys Challenge Cup Semi Final and will face Hull FC. Semi Final will be played over weekend of 27/28th July at a neutral venue. Ticketing and match details to follow in due course
Warrington took a giant step towards a return to Wembley when they crushed second-placed Huddersfield in the quarter final of the Tetleys Challenge Cup at the Halliwell Jones on Sunday.
Wolves had scored three tries before the visitors were able to enter their half. Two tries kept them in the hunt but in truth Warrington were by far the better team and romped home in the second period - and their reward is a semi-final against Hull FC.
Absentees were Ryan Atkins, injured in the game against Leeds last weekend and Richie Myler who has missed the last two games.
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderon was able to include Craig Kopczack who had recovered after sustaining an arm injury.
A towering up-and-under by Stefan Ratchford was fumbled by Scott Grix and the visitors conceded a goal line drop out. In the subsequent set the ball went into touch but not before it touched a Huddersfield hand.
Warrington took the ball back to the sticks but conceded a penalty.
Huddersfield then lost the ball in a tackle and some rapid off-loading saw Paul Wood charge over under the posts - his first contribution in what would be a tremendous performance that would earn him the "man of the match" award. Brett Hodgson converted.
Warrington struck again soon afterwards when Giants knocked on and then conceded a penalty near their own line. Trent Waterhouse was strong enough to resist two efforts to tackle him and went over in the corner.
A superb dash up the middle by Chris Hill and a kick through by Stefan Ratchford put Huddersfield on the back foot again and Micky Higham burrowed his way over. Hodgson converted and it was 16-0.
Another Ratchford kick forced another goal line drop out.
Huddersfield finally entered the Warrington half but only by five metres on the fifth tackle.
They were stunned again soon afterwards when Simon Grix made a lovely break and put Riley over in the corner. Referee Phil Bentham referred the matter to video ref Ian Smith who awarded the try. Hodgson's conversion attempt was just wide but Wolves were ahead 20-0
Huddersfield kept their slender hopes of progress when Eorl Crabtree put Shaun Lunt over and Brough converted - and then two missed tackles enabled Dale Ferguson to touch down.
Brough's second conversion reduced the deficit to eight points but Wolves recovered quickly and before the interval great breaks by Ben Westwood and Hodgson saw Joel Monaghan race clear. He was able to run from his wing to behind the posts to give an easy kick for Hodgson.
The issue was put beyond doubt early in the second half after Huddersfield knocked on 20 metres from their line. Chris Bridge slipped a lovely pass to Joel Monaghan who went over in the corner.
Hodgson added the extras from the touchline and it was 32-12.
Lee Briers started the next set with a splendid run and ended it with a kick that gained another goal line drop out - and soon afterwards the Warrington number six came up with some sheer magic. He looked to kick to the corner on the fifth tackle but fooled the defence with a grubber to the line which he followed up and dived over to score a beautiful try. Hodgson converted.
Brett Ferres then lost possession at the play-the-ball to give Wolves a scrum feed 30 metres out. Higham was caught on the line but the ball was quickly swept to the right and Garreth Carvell powered his way over. Hodgson landed his sixth conversion of the afternoon.
Huddersfield didn't throw in the towel and gained some consolation in the last five minutes when Danny Brough's kick to the corner was touched down by Jermaine McGillvary and Scott Grix raced over soon afterwards. Both tries were converted by Brough - but it was too little too late.
On the last play of the game Briers put in another kick to the corner but Joel Monaghan was unable to touch down for what would have been a hat trick.
Then came the semi-final draw conducted by Des Drummond and Henderson Gill which signals the prospect of a mouthwatering Warrington-Wigan final.
Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said: "It was a good performance all round. I thought our defence was outstanding right from the off and then we showed some good skill as well to put on some really good tries. We knew, having played Huddersfield a few times already this year, they'd come and have a real shot at it so we had to be good and did a pretty good job for most of it. There was a period where we just got a little sloppy defensively and a couple of lapses that cost us 12 points in that (first) half. Aside from that pretty pleased."
And on the Cup draw he added: "Hull are a good team. We've had some really good battles with them so far this year as well so we are looking forward to being in the next round. We had to fight hard to do that and hopefully we can do that again next time."
Brett Hodgson; Chris Riley, Chris Bridge, Simon Grix, Joel Monaghan; Lee Briers, Stefan Ratchford; Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Mike Cooper
Substitutes: Adrian Morley, Garreth Carvell, Ben Currie, Michael Monaghan
Tries: Wood, Waterhouse, Higham, Riley, Joel Monaghan (2) Briers, Carvell
Goals: Hodgson (6)
Scott Grix; Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Aaron Murphy; Danny Brough, Luke Robinson; Larne Patrick, Shaun Lunt, Craig Kopczak, Brett Ferres, Ukuma Ta'ai, Michael Lawrence
Substitutes: Dale Ferguson, David Faiumu, Anthony Mullally, Eorl Crabtree
Tries: Lunt, Ferguson, McGillvray, Scott Grix
Goals: Brough (4)
Game pictures available below courtesy of Bob Brough
14, Jul, 2013