Warrington Wolves were 0-18 down, late in the first half, but in a thrilling encounter they rallied to emerge from this elimination play-off with a 22-19 victory against Widnes Vikings, with Joel Monaghan scoring three thrilling fine tries.
The first 35 minutes were dominated by the Vikings, however, with Kevin Brown putting his stamp on the game, creating the first two tries in almost identical fashion with grubber kicks to the right corner, with winger Paddy Flynn touching them both down and Danny Tickle converting.
And when Rhys Hanbury stepped around the Warrington defence after 29 minutes to touch down for the Vikings’ third try, Tickle’s goal put them 18 points ahead.
The Wolves needed to get back into the game, and they did so when they moved the ball quickly to the right after 36 minutes, allowing Joel Monaghan to touch down for the first of his tries, with Stefan Ratchford converting from touch.
But Brown was able to add a field-goal just before the interval to give the Vikings a 6-19 lead.
But within seven minutes of the restart Warrington had reduced the deficit to three points, through tries by Joel Monaghan and Rhys Evans, with Ratchford converting the first.
And after 56 minutes Monaghan supported a break by Chris Bridge to score his third, with Ratchford’s goal giving the Wolves a three-point lead and completing the scoring.
Wolves fullback Matty Russell had to leave the field with a head injury after a collision with the Vikings’ MacGraff Leuluai, although the referee didn’t take any action against the Widnes player.
And shortly before the end of the game Joel Monaghan looked to be heading downfield for his fourth try, after intercepting Hanbury’s pass, but Hanbury somehow managed to turn and catch him up, pulling off a remarkable trysaving tackle.
A full report and photographs from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.