Leeds Rhinos record important Super League victory over Warrington Wolves in enthralling affair

LEEDS RHINOS registered a priceless 24-22 Super League victory over Warrington Wolves this afternoon at Headingley.

Warrington crossed the line in their opening set with Matt Dufty chasing his own kick to down in just the third minute. Stefan Ratchford, however, couldn’t convert as the visitors led 4-0.

And it was the Wolves that should have crossed moments later when Josh Thewlis ran down the wing only for the Warrington winger to be forced into touch by a desperate Cameron Smith tackle.

James McDonnell went off injured for the Rhinos and despite coming close the Wolves couldn’t force their way over the line. A fter a number of near misses, the Rhinos were finally level when Sam Walters took advantage of a brilliant pass from Smith just after the midway point in the first-half.

Yet Warrington were back in the lead just three minutes later as Dufty made an electric break before setting up Matty Ashton on the inside for a 90-metre scintillating effort. This time Ratchford converted to make it 10-6.

The visitors should have had another in the next set when Ratchford went streaking through a huge gap, but his pass back on the inside was dropped by Danny Walker.

And that was how the score remained until half-time despite both sides spurning great chances.

Warrington got the scoreboard ticking over early in the second-half with a penalty after Leeds were found guilty of a high tackle. Ratchford converted to make it 12-6.

But back came Leeds when David Fusitu’a rose highest to claim a pinpoint Aidan Sezer kick to the corner. Martin converted to level the scores at 12-12.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to retake the lead, however, with Ratchford going over off a neat George Williams pass. The centre couldn’t convert though as the Wolves led 16-12.

Leeds kicked out on the full and, from that set, Warrington forced a drop-out but that chance came to nought as the hosts punished Gary Chambers’ side soon after.

A brilliant break from Sezer saw Luke Hooley backing up on the inside and the fullback glided under the posts to restore parity once more. Martin’s conversion then took Leeds into the lead at 18-16.

And the try of the afternoon came with ten minutes to go when a stellar break from Smith set the platform for Nene MacDonald’s outrageous offload to find James Bentley in the corner. Martin nailed the conversion to ensure the Wolves had to score twice at 24-16.

But the visitors hit back immediately when Josh Drinkwater grubbered through for Matty Nicholson. Ratchford converted to bring Warrington back to within two points and set up a grandstand finish.

The Wolves should really have won the game in the end as Ratchford’s kick inside was knocked on despairingly by Dufty.

As it was, Leeds hung on to win 24-22 in one of the most enthralling fixtures of the year.

Leeds Rhinos

21 Luke Hooley
2 David Fusitu’a
12 Rhyse Martin
4 Nene MacDonald
5 Ash Handley
26 Corey Johnson
7 Aidan Sezer
8 Mikolaj Oledzki
14 Jarrod O’Connor
22 Sam Walters
19 James McDonnell
11 James Bentley
13 Cameron Smith
3 Harry Newman
15 Sam Lisone
18 Tom Holroyd
25 James Donaldson

Tries: Walters (23), Fusitu’a (49), Hooley (63), Bentley (70)
Goals: Martin 4/4

Warrington Wolves

1 Matt Dufty
2 Josh Thewlis
3 Peter Mata’utia
4 Stefan Ratchford
5 Matty Ashton
6 George Williams
7 Josh Drinkwater
18 Thomas Mikaele
16 Danny Walker
10 Paul Vaughan
11 Ben Currie
12 Matty Nicholson
36 Jordy Crowther
8 James Harrison
9 Daryl Clark
15 Joe Philbin
17 Gil Dudson

Tries: Dufty (3), Ashton (27), Ratchford (56), Nicholson (73)
Goals: Ratchford 3/5

Half-time: 6-10
Referee: Ben Thaler