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When the just two points cover the top seven teams in the competition then many games become top of the table clashes and a Friday night encounter between the Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves at Headingley Stadium was one such occasion.

A big win for the Wolves, by a margin of more than twenty points, would see them back to the top of the table and while victory for the Rhinos would see them level with at least three other teams on points, they would need an unachievable winning margin of at least ninety-one points to overtake Wigan on points difference.

The bookies made the home side slight favourites for the win and handicapped them by four points on the coupon, it promised to be a close match between two sides who are still seeking some 2024 consistency.

After dominating the opening exchanges, Josh Thewlis spilled a Matt Frawley bomb thirty from his own line on seven minutes and on the last tackle a kick to the wing from Frawley was collected by a flying Harry Newman to step over the line to score. Rhyse Martin was wide with his conversion attempt.

Ash Handley collected a Warrington kick to the corner on thirteen and set off downfield but after a run of eighty metres he was hauled down by the chasing Warrington players, led by Matty Ashton, and brilliantly hauled into touch just short of the line.

On seventeen, and a second consecutive set of six close to the Leeds line, Matty Nicholson took a Matt Dufty pass at pace and crashed through three Leeds defenders to ground. Stefan Ratchford was wide with his conversion attempt, the sides level at 4-4.

On twenty-five, Ash Handley was helped off the field with a rib injury, Sam Lisone taking his place on the field.

On the half hour mark a Warrington break through Connor Wrench should have seen them take the lead but despite having a three on one attack he opted to go alone and was hauled down. But three plays later they made amends with George Williams taking a Dufty pass and going over on the angle to take the lead. Ratchford was on target with his conversion for 10-4.

Three minutes from the interval Joe Bullock simply walked through a hole in the Leeds defence to score by the uprights. Ratchford was again on target, the Wolves taking a healthy and deserved 16-4 lead into the sheds.

Three minutes after the restart the Rhinos registered their second try, albeit a scrappy one, when Luis Roberts grounded a Brodie Croft grubber to the corner. Lachlan Miller took over the kicking duties and wide of the posts with his attempt.

Paul Momirovsky was denied a try on forty-nine as it was determined that he had been guilty of a double movement as grounded he stretched over his head to ground, the video referee overruling the on field official.

Leeds were starting to gain some momentum but on sixty-five Danny Walker scooted from dummy half, span out of a tackle and fell over the line for the fourth Wolves try of the night and when Ratchford added the conversion the visitors were fourteen points ahead.

Matt Dufty put the icing on the cake on seventy-three as he took a no-look pass from Williams and dragged two Leeds tacklers over the line to ground in the right corner.

Here minutes from time Thewlis sprinted sixty metres after intercepting a floated Cam Smith pass to dive over in the corner. Ratchford added the touchline conversion for an impressive 34-8 win.

This game wasn’t so much won by Warrington, as it was lost by Leeds, who played some dumb rugby at times, made far too many errors, and were found wanting in defence on the moments that Warrington cut loose. The Wolves showed more composure and confidence and outscored the Rhinos by six tries to two, preventing the Rhinos from getting in their groove, defending in numbers to frustrate their opponents, and scoring when the opportunities arose.

Leeds Rhinos: Miller, Roberts (T), Newman (T), Momirovski, Handley, Croft, Frawley, Oledzki, Ackers, Holroyd, McDonnell, Martin, Smith. Subs: Lisone, McCormack, O’Connor, Goudemand. 18th Man: Edgell. 

Warrington Wolves: Dufty (T), Thewlis (T), Ratchford (5G), Wrench, Ashton, Williams (T), Hayes, Harrison, Walker (T), Crowther, Nicholson (T), Fitzgibbon, Currie.  Subs: Powell, Bullock (T), Holroyd, Wood. 18th Man: Whitehead.

Half-Time: 4-16.

Full-Time: 8-34.

Score Progression: 4-0, 4-4, 4-8, 4-10, 4-14, 4-16 : HT: 8-16, 8-20, 8-22, 8-26, 8-28, 8-32, 8-34 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Leeds – Square – Warrington.

Referee: Aaron Moore.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 5th Apr 2024 9:55 PM | Views : 5871 | Replies : 1 | BACK TO STORIES