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Wolves season review 2004
By Orbit News Ltd.
Published on 01/01/04 3:00 pm
A complete round up of the Wolves' 2004 Super League campaign

Warrington Wolves 34 Wakefield Wildcats 20

Ticket chaos angers

fans at opening game

By Gary Skentelbery 

WARRINGTON's opening game at their new multi-million pound Halliwell Jones stadium was marred by the fact many fans with tickets could not gain entry to the ground.
What the club described as "teething problems" from a capacity 14,206 crowd took the gloss off an otherwise memorable occasion as the Wolves notched an important victory over Wakefield Wildcats.
 It was a particular triumph for club Captain Lee Briers following his seven month lay off from a broken wrist, as he scored a try and landed seven goals from seven attempts.
In fact Briers was head and shoulders above some of his team mates who were guilty of complacency after building up a 32-8 lead midway through the second-half.
Vice-captain Nat Wood, a former wakefield player, had the honour of scoring the first ever try at the stadium after just four minutes.
The try came from a breath taking build up, involving new signings Chris Leikvoll and Mike Forshaw.
Then young winger Dean Gaskell slid over in the corner as the Wolves lead 14-8 at the break.
When Briers went in from a rare "against the head" scrum and GB squad member Paul Wood scored a brace Warrington looked capable of running up a cricket score. But they fell away badly in the closing 20 minutes as the Wildcats staged a late rally, scoring three tries without reply.
Briers landed a last minute penalty to ensure a personal points tally of 18 points.
After the match the Wolves pledged to launch an inquiry into the ticket fiasco which left hundreds of fans unable to gain entry into the ground despite having legitimate tickets.
Many were eventually allowed in at half-time although by that time others had made their way to nearby pubs to watch the game.
  • Pictures show new signings Chris Leikvoll, Mike Forshaw and Danny Lima in action. Pictures: George Thornton

  • Rochdale Hornets 0 Warrington Wolves 80

    Record breaking Wolves

    sting Hornets

    By Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON Wolves ended an 83-year-old record for the biggest margin of victory in the Challenge Cup with a 16 try demolition of National League Division One outfit Rochdale Hornets.
    With the match switched to the Wolves' new Halliwell Jones Stadium Warrington took advantage of the extra space to completely out class the stunned Hornets.
    It took less than two minutes for the Wolves to open the scoring as man-of-the match John Wilshere broke clear to send Graham Appo over.
    Moments later Brent Grose broke away to send over Paul Wood. Wilshere was then again in the thick of the action as he finished off a fine handling move in the corner.
    Wood was soon on hand to claim his second try and then Jerome Guisset powered over from close range. The Hornets had no answer to Warrington's power and pace as Appo danced his way over, followed by Ben Westwood, Grose and Wilshere to make it 46-0 at the interval.
    Warrington showed no signs of slacking after the break as within two minutes a super reverse pass from Westwood sent Dean Gaskell in at the corner.
    The match continued to remain one way traffic as the Wolves ran riot with further tries from Westwood (49), Ian Sibbit (57), Paul Noone (67), Gary Hulse (74), Nat Wood (77) and full-back Daryll Cardiss with a length of the field effort in the final minute.
    Rochdale didn't help their cause when Rob Ball was sent off eight minutes from time for a high tackle on Hulse.
    If Warrington had managed to kick more than eight out of 16 conversion attempts to margin would have been even greater!

    Hull 24 Warrington Wolves 18

    Cullen upbeat

    despite defeat


    By Gary Skentelbery

    HEAD Coach Paul Cullen remained upbeat despite witnessing his side's first defeat of the season as they gave the home side a 20 point cushion befores slipping into gear.
    "Hull gave us our biggest test since Wigan in the play-offs last year," said Cullen.
    "But I felt we showed a lot of character in the second half and we might easily have come back and won the game. I am sure it will make us a better side in the weeks to come."
    Trailing 16-0 at the break Warrington looked dead and buried as they lost Graham Appo and Darryl Cardiss through injury.
    But Brent Grose went over to give the Wolves some heart and when Hull's Paul McNicholas was sin binned with 10 minutes to go, the game was almost turned on its head.
    Danny Lima and Grose with his second, went in for tries, both improved by Lee Briers, against a second try for Hull's Ritchie Barnett, junior, who touched down for his second try on his debut.
    Hull were suddenly left clinging on as Lima almost barged over for his second try in the final minute as he was held up just an inch from the line.

    Oldham 10 Warrington Wolves 44

    Semi-final beckons

    for Wolves!

    By Sports staff

    WARRINGTON stayed on course for Cardiff as they swept Oldham away without ever getting out of first gear to reach the quarter-finals of the Powergen Cup.
    Their reward is a trip to Paul Cullen's former club Whitehaven, which should almost certainly guarantee a semi-final slot, barring a major upset.
    Meanwhile Cullen was less than enthusiastic about Warrington's victory at Oldham as they ran in nine tries to two.
    He said: "We can operate at a few gears and we just about got into first today.
    "The score reflects the game. In terms of attitude, performance and commitment, Paul Noone was miles ahead of any other Warrington player.
    "But all credit to Oldham, they were proud and resolute and when they had the ball they had a real dig at us.
    "It was certainly not the Oldham side I saw on video when they were beaten by 50 points by their fellow National League side, Leigh Centurions, last week."
    The Wolves were off to a flyer with tries from Darren Burns and Ian Sibbit until Oldham replied with a try from former Warrington player Will Cowell in the corner.
    Warrington responded with further tries before half-time through Jerome Guisett, Gary Hulse and Brent Grose.
    A similar pattern followed in the second half with further Warrington tries from Richard Varkulis on his debut, Ben Westwoood, Dean Gaskell and a second from Hulse to take a 44-6 lead.
    Oldham winger Nick Johnson dived over for a consolation try late on as the Wolves eased off.
    Full draw: Wigan v Wakefield, St Helens V Hull, Huddersfield v York, Whitehaven v Warrington. Ties to be played Sunday March 28th.

    Warrington Wolves 32 Castleford Tigers 18

    Wolves show

    great character!

    By Sports staff

    WARRINGTON Wolves showed "great character" after bouncing back from a poor start to beat Castleford Tigers 32-18 at the Halliwell Jones stadium.
    Despite appalling weather conditions the Tigers caught Warrington cold and raced into a 12 point lead in the opening seven minutes.
    The Wolves clawed their way back into the game with skipper Lee Briers in inspirational form as his kicking game constantly punished the Tigers who were still looking for their first league win of the season.
     Two tries in the corner from winger John Wilshere, one converted by Briers narrowed the gap to 10-12 at the interval.
    Early second half pressure from Warrington paid off when Ian Sibbit broke clear and fed the supporting Paul Noone for a great touchdown. Briers was wide with the kick but Warrington had their noses in front for the first time.
    But Castleford refused to lie down and replied with a great length of the field effort to edge back in front.
    Back came Warrington with a superb interception effort from Brent Grose who raced 8o metres fenbding off two would be tacklers to score a great individual try - making up for a few missed tackles in the first half!
    That proved to be the turning point as Warrington added further workman like tries from forwards Paul Wood and Mark Hilton.
    After the match Coach Paul Cullen enthused about his sides "great character" and praised all seventeen players for their commitment.
    He particularly praised Mike Wainwright saying: "That was the best performance from Mike Wainwright in a Warrington, Salford or any shirt I have seen him play in!"
  • Pictures show Natwood (top) and Brent Grose on the way to his interception try.
  • Pictures: George Thornton.

  • Whitehaven 10 Warrington 42

    Wolves reach


    By Sports staff

    AS expected Warrington claimed their place in the semi-finals of the Powergen Challenge Cup for the third time in five years following a bruising encounter at Whitehaven.
    Leading just 6-14 at the break thanks to three tries from winger John Wilshere, centre Ben Westwood and scrum-half Nat Wood, the Wolves would have been home and dry if skipper Lee Briers had not left his kicking boots at home.
    Roarded on by a partisan crowd Whitehaven got the sniff of pulling off a shock when Westwood lost the ball near his own try line allowing the home side to score through scrum-half Kiddie.|
    But Warrington's class and extra stamina showed in the second half as they pulled away with five further tries through Nat Wood with his second, Ian Sibbit, Brent Grose, Paul Wood and Warren Stevens - who was lucky to be able to make it back on to the pitch after being delivered a near knock out blow by his former team mates in the first half!

    London Broncos 24 Warrington 36

    Wolves hit Broncos

    for six!

    By Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON produced a mixed performance before over running London Broncos for a rare win in the capital.
    Warrington ran in six tries in all and trailed for only a two-minute spell during the whole match as the Broncos suffered their fourth defeat in five matches.
    Mike Wainwright opened the scoring for Wolves after just four minutes when his charge down of Paul Sykes' kick bounced off the post, giving him plenty of time to gather the ball and score behind the posts.
    London hit back with two tries, the first from Dennis Moran and the second from Andrew Hart, both converted by Sykes to give them a 12-6 lead after 23 minutes.
    But within two minutes the scores were level as London knocked on following the kick-off and Jon Clarke went through some poor tackling to touch down beside the posts against his former club.
    Mike Forshaw made it 18-12 to the Wolves after 29 minutes when he again profited from some shoddy tackling to go over.
    London started the second half badly with the kick-off went into touch on the full, giving Warrington a penalty on the halfway line. Then on the second tackle, Moran was put on report for a dangerous challenge and when they did finally get the ball, London immediately kicked it out on the full on the final tackle to give Warrington possession 25 metres from the London line.
    Warrington made the home team pay as the Broncos back line was breached moments later when Jerome Guisset burst through two tackles to score with Noone adding the extras.
    Sykes again reduced the arrears for London with a try after 51 minutes, but after they conceded another needless penalty, Guisset was allowed to score his second try.
    It left Warrington with a 12 point lead entering the final quarter but that was reduced by Moran who intercepted and ran 80 metres for his second try of the day.
    But Warrington made sure of the spoils as Nathan Wood and Gary Hulse both dropped goals either side of a try for Noone.

    Warrington 16 Widnes Vikings 24

    Wolves taste first

    defeat at new stadium

    By Sports staff

    HEAD Coach Paul Cullen's decision to reward players with new contracts appeared to backfire as a lack lustre performance saw Widnes Vikings inflict Warrington's first defeat at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
    Warrington, badly missing the kicking game of injured stand-off Lee Briers and the running game of Graham Appo, took the lead early on with the first of Jerome Guisset's two tries, which was superbly converted by stand-in goalkicker Paul Noone.
    Widnes, who survived more early pressure on their line, equalised when Chris Giles scored after 15 minutes, with Jules O'Neill adding the conversion. O'Neill, whose kicking game dominated the Wolves, then slid a kick through into the in-goal for Simon Finnigan to score after 22 minutes, but Guisset then added his second to level the scores just before half-time, both tries being converted.
    The try of the match came three minutes into the second half, when Widnes speedster Nicky Royle got free on the right and dashed 70 metres, with O'Neill's conversion giving Widnes a six-point lead.
    Danny Lima then crashed over for an unconverted try, but Widnes put daylight between themselves and the Wolves with their last try by Shane Millard in the 56th minute, with O'Neill's conversion giving the final score of 24-16 in front of the 11,413 crowd.

    Wigan Warriors 26 Warrington Wolves 24

    More heartbreak for

    Wolves at JJB!

    By Sports staff

    FOR the second year running Warrington suffered last minute heartbreak at Wigan's JJB Stadium.
    Looking to bounce back from their shock Good Friday defeat to lowly Widnes, Warrington produced a vastly improved performance to give them good heart for the Challenge Cup semi-final clash on Sunday.
    Skipper Andy Farrell kicked Wigan to victory as Warrington gave away needless penalities in the second half.
    Farrell's ffifth goal of the game gave Wigan the points after Danny Tickle's late try had clawed the Warriors level.
    The Wolves looked to be heading for victory when former Wigan star Jon Clarke grabbed their 4th try but Wigan came back with Tickle's touchdown in a dramatic finish.
    Right winger Martin Aspinwall gave Wigan an early lead with his 7th try in nine games after earlier denying Warrington when loose forward Mike Wainwright, with the Wigan line at his mercy, knocked on under the weight of Aspinwall's tackle.
    Aspinwall then struck at the other end after Danny Orr set up the attack when Wigan stole the ball from a Warrington scrum on halfway. With the Wolves' defence stretched, Stephen Wild's pass put Aspinwall in at the corner.
    But the Wolves hit back at the double. A kick from Paul Noone hit Farrell on the leg and props Quentin Pongia and Danny Sculthorpe were both caught offside and chose not to pick up the loose ball. But Gary Hulse gratefully accepted the opportunity to snap it up and dive over.
    Wigan were again caught out when winger Dean Gaskell took Nathan Wood's bomb superbly to touchdown.
    Noone landed both conversions to give the Wolves a 12-4 half time advantage but Wigan quickly closed the gap after the break when Sculthorpe sent Aussie winger Brett Dallas racing over and three Farrell penalty goals restored Wigan's advantage.
    Dallas grabbed his second try, converted by Farrell, but Warrington stormed back with winger Richard Varkulis scoring in the corner, and Noone adding a superb goal from the touchline.
    Former Wigan hooker Clarke then put the cat among the pigeons finishing off a terrific move to score under the posts and Noone's fourth goal nudged Warrington in front.
    But Tickle levelled the scores with a chip and chase to the line which he won to touch down and Farrell's kick earned Wigan an unlikely victory.

    Warrington Wolves 18 Wigan Warriors 30

    Wolves cursed by bad

    luck and blunders

    by Gary Skentelbery

    A COMBINATION of bad luck and blunders broke Warrington's hearts as they missed out on the chance of a Powergen Challenge Cup final appearance for the third time in five years.
    The Wolves could not be faulted for effort as they pinned Wigan down in their own half for most of the first half.
    But on their first attack Winger Brett Dallas pounced on a loose pass from Mike Forshaw to race 70 yards and score.
    Then with Warrington piling more pressure on the Wigan defence skipper Lee Briers did a neat chip kick which he just failed to gather as full-back Kris Radlinski pounced to race the length of the field.
    All the Wolves had to show for their dominance was a Briers penalty to make it 2-12 at the break.
    To their credit Warrington didn't give up and were back in contention when they pounced on a rare Wigan handling error with good work from the hard working Darren Burns sending Ben Westwood in at the corner to make it 6-12. Farrell added a penalty to extend Wigan's lead and then the major turning point came when young winger Dean Gaskell inexplicably threw a wild pass in the direction of full-back Daryl Cardiss.
    Again Dallas was the quickest to pounce on the blunder as he broke Warrington's hearts.
    Again Warrington came back as Briers' kick was pounced on by Burns but Wigan were soon back in the driving seat as Dallas broke through a gaping hole in Warrington's tiring defence, to complete a memorable hat-trick on his 100th appearance for the club.
    Warrington were rewarded for their continued efforts with a late consolation try for Mike Forshaw.
    Warrington certainly missed the pace of the injured Graham Appo and Brent Grose and the power of Chris Leikvol and Paul Wood , but in the pack Danny Lima was outstanding.
    After the match Wolves Coach Paul Cullen praised his team for their effort but accepted they had been punished for some costly errors.

    Salford City Reds 18 Warrington Wolves 37

    Wolves made to work

    hard by lowly Salford

    Picture: George Thornton. Lee Briers on his way to the try line following a great interception effort.

    by Gary Skentelbery

    Warrington got back to winning ways but made hard work of beating second-from-bottom Salford 37-18 at the Willows.
    The Wolves bounced back from their recent defeats to Wigan and Widnes to send Salford crashing to their 8th Super League defeat in a row.
    Lee Briers who was playing through the pain barrier with a broken finger, turned in another man of the match performance, with a try, five goals from five attempts and a drop goal as Salford threatened a fightback, coming back from 6-18 down at the interval to level the scores.
    Warrington took the lead midway through the first half when Briers was involved in a runaround with Mike Forshaw as Darren Burns went over.
    Then Nat Wood strolled through a woeful tackle attempt by Scott Naylor to race 70 metres before Andy Johnson scored an individual effort for the Reds to cut the gap to 12-6.
    But then upstepped Briers with a crucial interception try right on half-time to race almost the full length of the field. He then added insult to injury by banging over the touch-line conversion.
    Salford had a try from Johnson disallowed by the video referee before Anthony Stewart carved out a chance for Cliff Beverley to go over in the 57th minute with Chris Charles landing his second conversion.
    Salford were back on level terms after a rare mistake by Briers, this time the victim of an interception try with Karl Fitzpatrick racing 90 metres to score.
    But Warrington, who were guilty of too many handling errors, finished the stronger and added late tries through Paul Wood, Mark Gleeson and Richard Varkulis.
    Gary Hulse and Nathan Wood pulled off a crucial tackle on Gareth Haggerty who was held up over the line as Salford looked set to grab a fourth try before the Wolves stepped on the gas in the last quarter.
    Head Coach Paul Cullen was happy to gain two valuable Super League but confessed that it "was not pretty!"
  • Pictures: George Thornton. Hooker Jon Clarke and hard working forward Danny Lima in action at the Willows.

  • Warrington Wolves 22 Bradford Bulls 22

    Wolves denied

    famous victory

    By Sports staff

    WARRINGTON were denied a famous victory in a pulsating Tetley's Super League clash with Champions Bradford at a rain-soaked Halliwell Jones Stadium.
    The Wolves dominated the match for long periods in difficult conditions but Bradford clawed their way back from 18-6 behind to steal a point when the 'Volcano' Lesley Vainikolo denied Warrington the points with four minutes remaining.
    The New Zealand international, who arrived back from Test duty Down Under only 48 hours earlier, pounced for his 13th try of the season to tie the scores for a second time and deny Warrington their first victory over the Bulls in three years.
    Warrington gifted the Bulls a dream start when stand-in full-back Gary Hulse dropped a greasy ball a metre from his own line allowing the visitors an easy score.
    However, they spent the remainder of the half on the back foot as Wolves skipper Lee Briers inspired his team to new heights. He defied a broken finger to score an individual try and helped set up two others to put Warrington 14-6 up at the break.
    Nathan Wood and Mark Hilton were both denied by the video referee, who was called to make six decisions in the first 40 minutes, before Briers jinked his way over on 19 minutes to end a spell of pressure.
    Warrington forged ahead with two tries in three minutes - winger Richard Varkulis finishing powerfully after Briers' long pass before centre Brent Grose marked his return by pouncing on Briers' kick to the line.
    It was a similar story after the break when Grose went over in the corner for his second try - Briers again the playmaker.
    The only disappointing aspect of his game was his goal kicking as he was only able to convert one of the tries.
    However, the Wolves failed to drive home their advantage and almost inevitably, Bradford hit back with two tries from Michael Withers.
    The Bulls moved the ball quickly from one side of the pitch to the other before Vainikolo - off the field during the first half to have stitches inserted in a facial wound - kicked ahead for Withers to pounce and carry the ball over under the posts. And with 12 minutes to go the Bulls were level. Leon Pryce set up the ball for Withers to cruise over between the sticks, and with Paul Deacon converting both, the scores were level at 18-18.
    But back came Warrington with Briers once more the architect, kicking through for Dean Gaskell to get the final touch in the corner, although Briers missed the extras once again.
    However, it was Vainikolo who had the last laugh, taking advantage of some late pressure to level the scores once again with Deacon missing from out wide.
    Bradford came forward with one last drive, and almost stole the points when Withers pulled a one-pointer inches wide of the left-hand upright.
    Warrington coach Paul Cullen was left rueing the point that got away.
    "The game is won and lost on fractions and that one got away from us," said Cullen, whose side were playing their fifth game in 19 days and were without six regulars through injury.
    "We are disappointed that we haven't won but the positive from our point of view is that a 22-22 draw against the champions is not good enough.
    "We went into the game with less preparation time and with a 17 arguably not as strong and we were very dominant. I am satisfied that we are moving in the right direction but we were a fraction short of what we wanted, which was two points.
    "Bradford deserve full credit for coming back into a match they had no right to. We totally dominated the first half and controlled most of the second. Because they are the world champions, when we gave them ball and field position, they exploited it to the full."
    Bulls coach Brian Noble admittred his side did not deserve both points.
    "If you had asked me after half-time, a point was a great result for us," he said. "I thought Warrington were super.
    "We showed plenty of character. We had to soak up a lot of pressure, which was a tremendous effort, and when we got the ball in their half, we showed we could score points."

    Warrington Wolves 20 Huddersfield Giants 26

    Wolves beaten by Giants

    By Sports staff

    HEAD Coach Paul Cullen blamed tiredness as his side crashed to a surprise home defeat to Huddersfield Giants.
    Leading 20-14 in the final quarter Warrington's tiring defence leaked two late tries as the Giants cemented their place in the top six.
    Having raced in to a 8-0 lead Warrington looked on course to leap frog the Giants in a vital league clash.
    But the Wolves could not hold on as Huddersfield, who were bouncing back from a hammering in the cup by St Helens at the same stadium a week earlier, turned on the style with some slick handling.
    Warrington went ahead with a Lee Briers penalty and scored the first try through hooker Jon Clarke after Briers and Gary Hulse had combined well.
    But Huddersfield struck back to lead as Bailey scored a try after a sizzling break from Stanley Gene and Ben Roarty crossed the line four minutes later. After Hefin O'Hare had a try disallowed for a forward pass Warrington drew level at half time when Briers sent Jerome Guisset over.
    The ever influential Briers was involved again as Warrington went ahead, providing a kick for Dean Gaskell to score in the corner.
    Gaskell himself had a try chalked off before Crabtree and Nero scores after good work from Gene and Paul Smith. Paul March kicked both conversions to give him 10 points for the match and Huddersfield could even afford to have a Brandon Costin try disallowed. Warrington's Danny Lima was placed on report for a tackle on Stuart Jones before Ben Westwood was carried off on a stretcher in the 76th minute.
    After the match Cullen, while disappointed with the defeat and Warrington's poor tackling late on, said tiredness following the epic battle with Bradford had been an element.
  • Pictures: George Thornton. Lee Briers kicks to set up Dean Gaskell's try and Nat Wood looks to make a break.

  • Leeds 23 Warrington Wolves 10

    Wolves slip out

    of top six

    By Sports staff

    WARRINGTON Wolves slipped out of the top six for the first time this season as they went down 23-10 despite a battling performance at Leeds.
    Meanwhile Leeds maintained their grip on the Super League summit by grinding out a victory as Warrington took an early lead and led 6-8 at the break. The Rhinos had clearly not shrugged off the effects of their 56-10 demolition at St Helens and there was little evidence of the early season form.
    Warrington skipper Lee Briers carved his way through the Leeds defence to give the visitors a narrow half-time advantage, but a Marcus Bai double and a try each from Mark Calderwood and Danny McGuire edged it for the Rhinos. The Wolves kept themselves within six points as the game moved into its closing stages but a 71st-minute drop goal from Kevin Sinfield settled the contest.
    McGuire then wrapped up the points in the last minute.
    Warrington were the first side on the scoreboard after Leeds were caught offside in the eighth minute and Briers accepted the easy two points on offer.
    The Rhinos finally broke through on 30 minutes when Barrie McDermott drove up the middle and McGuire and Keith Senior spread the ball wide for Bai to cross in the corner. Captain Sinfield converted from the touchline but his effort only had the effect of stirring Warrington's inspirational skipper Briers into action.
    The Wales international jinked his way through from 20 metres to level the scores and then converted to give his side an 8-6 lead at the interval.
    Leeds responded well as the second half got under way and were rewarded for a good spell of pressure with Bai's second try.
    Warrington were caught out as McGuire found Richie Mathers in support on the left but it took a lucky deflection for the ball to fall into Bai's path.
    With Sinfield off the field, Dave Furner added the goal via the upright.
    Briers pulled two points back with another penalty but Leeds went further in front when Sinfield and Francis Cummins came off the bench to put Calderwood over.
    Sinfield then put the result beyond doubt with a well-taken drop goal before Rob Burrow raced away to put stand-off McGuire over to setle the contest.
    Warrington are out of the top six for the first time this season after successive defeats and need to rally quickly if they are to maintain a play-off challenge.

    Warrington Wolves 20 St Helens 50

    Wolves gift

    it to Saints!

    By Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON'S alarming dip in form continued as they were humbled 20-50 by Challenge Cup winners St Helens.
    Saints showed no signs of a post-Challenge Cup final hangover as they ran in nine tries, several gifts from sloppy warrington play.
    The visitors went ahead inside two minutes when Nat Wood dropped a pass and Paul Sculthorpe's grubber kick bounced up perfectly for Kieron Cunningham to touch down under the sticks.
    Wood atoned by creating Ben Westwood's equalising try five minutes later and to be fair to the Aussie playmaker, he did go on to produce a man-of-the-match performance.
    But few of his team mates could match his commitment to atone for his early error.
    Cunningham was forced off with a hamstring problem, but his replacement Jon Wilkin proved more than adequate, powering over by the posts after 14 minutes.
    Warrington attempted to play an expansive game but they paid the price when Sculthorpe intercepted and sent winger Darren Albert over to score.
    Mike Wainwright grabbed a try from a short kick-off for Warrington before Lee Briers pressed the self-destruct button, telegraphing a pass as Sean Long intercepted with ease to race clear and score.
    There was worse to come as Sculthorpe's delayed pass put Albert over in the corner for a 28-12 half-time lead.
    It was crucial for the Wolves to score first after the break and they should have, only for Wood to drop the ball in the act of scoring, admittedly under fierce pressure from Sculthorpe.
    Saints responded almost immediately, Long's grubber kick creating a try for Jason Hooper, but Brent Grose kept Warrington within three scores after a slick handling move.
    Three tries in six minutes quickly ended any hopes of a comeback as Albert powered home in the corner for his hat-trick, Martin Gleeson weaved his way through a tiring Wolves defensive line and Lee Gilmour hacked forward and collected his own kick to score.
    Warrington did grab the game's final try but Jon Clarke's close range effort will be no consolation for a side which is slipping down the Super League table at a worrying rate.
    Post match Head Coach Paul Cullen said: "I honestly don't think in any game we've played this year we've broken the opponents' line as much as we broke this one and failed to score.
    "It's not the technique, it's the execution. We don't seem to have a problem making the break, we simply came up short with the execution."
  • Picture: George Thornton: Winger John Wilshere fending off Hooper.

  • Warrington Wolves 34 Wigan Warriors 18

    Wood waltzes over

    for stunning win

    Picture: George Thornton Report: Gary Skentelbery

    A SENSATIONAL hat-trick of tries from man-of-the match Nat Wood secured a long over due victory for Warrington Wolves as they crushed arch rivals Wigan with some stunning rugby.
    It ended a run of only one win in their last eight league and cup matches as Head Coach Paul Cullen celebrated his side's first win over one of the "big five" since taking over the running of the team.
    Wigan were left wondering what had hit them as they trailed 16-0 at half-time after previously winning the last nine derby meetings.
    Warrington made the perfect start with Mike Forshaw going over against his old club straight from a scrum after only five minutes with Lee Briers booting the first of his five conversions.
    Then midway through the first-half Nathan Wood side-stepped his way over for the first of his treble to make it 10-0.
    He was followed by the impressive Mike Wainwright who took a return pass from wigan born winger Dean Gaskell to open up a 16-0 lead.
    After the break Wood again dummied his way over to stretch the lead to 22-0 with Lee Briers clocking up the 500th Super League goal of his career. Wood nearly landed himself in hot water as he celebrated his sensational score by running off the pitch and into the stand, returning from an opposite tunnel! The visitors finally opened their account in the 48th minute when prop Craig Smith powered his way over and Andy Farrell booted the goal.
    But there was no denying Wood his hat-trick on the hour when he collected Briers kick, although he faced a long wait before the try was allowed by video referee Ray Tennant.
    Aspinwall went over for Wigan to cut the gap to 28-12 but Warrington were on fire and Briers confirmed their superiority by waltzing through 10 minutes from time.
    Ian Sibbit pulled off a magnificent try-saving tackle on Gaz Hock although Wigan did have the consolation of scoring the final try of the night when sub Mark Smith went over.
    The victory was vital for Warrington to get their top six hopes back and track.
    After the match Head Coach Paul Cullen said: "It was a very special 80 minutes for us but the game was won in the first half. Nathan Wood was pushed very hard for the man of the match award by our back row of Paul Noone, Mike Wainwright and Mike Forshaw, who were breathtaking.
    "But Nat tore them to pieces. We held our nerve when the flak was flying and took our chances.
    "Everyone has been reminding us we had won only one of our last eight games but we shut Wigan down completely.
    "It's not a bad Wigan side but we were very controlled.
    "We spent six days smarting after our heavy defeat last week (to St Helens) but we've shown there's a very decent score coming."
  • Picture: George Thornton. Nat Wood on the way to the first of his three tries.

  • Widnes Vikings 31 Warrington Wolves 10

    Woeful Wolves are

    a total disgrace

    Picture: George Thornton Report: Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON produced their worst display of the season as they were totally humilated 31-10 at arch-rivals Widnes.
    For once in his post match comments Head Coach Paul Cullen could not find any positives in the Wolves' performance which has now severely dented their top six hopes.
    The result was even more remarkable as Widnes bounced back from their humiliating defeat at Hull and restored some pride after their record 70-4 loss at the KC Stadium.
    There was little to choose between the two sides in the first half as Warrington led 10-8 at the break. But Widnes produced a stunning second-half display with 23 unanswered points to secure only their fourth Super League victory of the season.
    They were helped by a lack lustre Warrington outfit, who were a mere shadow of the team that beat Wigan just a week earlier.
    The writing was on the wall for the Wolves when Vikings winger Nicky Royle grabbed a vital try five minutes after the restart when Warrington were left one man short with Ian Sibbitt flat out injured. Royle was stretchered off five minutes later after being hurt making a tackle.
    Widnes increased their lead on 52 minutes when Robert Relf was stopped inches short but hooker Shane Millard dived over from acting half-back and Jules O'Neill converted to make it 18-10.
    O'Neill edged the Vikings further ahead with a drop goal before Widnes sealed a well-earned win with two tries in the final eight minutes.
    First Steven Myler sent Andy Hay racing clear to score and then Adam Hughes grabbed his second try in injury time, both converted, to seal an emphatic success.
    The Vikings had come out with all guns blazing and were penalised twice in the opening three minutes for high tackles with the second by O'Neill placed on report for his challenge on Wolves full-back Darryl Cardiss.
    After Lee Briers put the Wolves in front with an early penalty it was the Vikings who grabbed the opening try when Hughes intercepted a Briers pass and raced 50 metres to touch down and O'Neill converted.
    As tempers became frayed Wolves prop Paul Wood was also placed on report after Millard alleged he had been bitten in the tackle.
    Briers pulled another penalty back to make it 6-4 and then made a break through the heart of the Vikings' defence and Mark Gleeson carried on the move to send Mike Forshaw over and Briers goaled.
    A late first-half penalty by O'Neill reduced the half-time deficit to just two points at 10-8 before Widnes's stunning second-half show.
    Once again Warrington missed a whole host of opportunities with winger Graham Appo dropping the ball with the line at his mercy on three occasions - the first in the opening attack!
    After the match Cullen didn't hold back his disappointment and frustration at his side's performance saying Warrington had shown their "soft underbelly."
    When asked if he would be parading his players before a press conference, as Neil Kelly did following their humilating defeat at Hull, Cullen said he would be taking his own measures to deal with the issue.

    Warrington Wolves 42 London Broncos 12

    Wolves beat Broncos

    at a canter!

    Picture: George Thornton Report: Gary Skentelbery

    A STUNNING individual try from scrum-half Nathan Wood lit up an otherwise uninspiring match as Warrington produced a routine win over lacklustre London at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
    Warrington were hardly tested by the struggling Broncos and cantered to victory in a game lacking intensity.
    Ben Westwood and Paul Noone both grabbed two tries for the Wolves while Lee Briers notched 14 points with a perfect seven goals from seven attempts. Winger Graham Appo (pictured) also returned to scoring ways with his first Super League try of the season as he opened the scoring.
     The Broncos were guilty of basic errors and after they dropped the ball the Wolves pounced from the resulting scrum as they threw the ball to Wood and the Australian ran half the length of the field to score, after when of his trade mark side steps.
    Briers then created the third when he put through a smart kick for Noone to touch down with ease.
    With Briers having added four goals the game looked over as a contest as Warrington went into the break with a 20-0 lead.
    After the break scrum-half Moran produced a rare moment of Broncos magic as he jinked his way through from a Mitchell Stringer offload to get his side on the scoreboard. Paul Sykes converted but it merely proved a break from the monotony as the game moved towards its inevitable conclusion of a Warrington win.
    Warrington lifted a gear with 20 minutes remaining and Mike Wainwright put Westwood through for an easy try.
    The impressive Jon Clarke then created Westwood's second when he dummied his way through a gap and Brent Grose returned the resulting kick-off back for another try moments later after some neat foot work.
    Broncos centre Mark O'Halloran found a gap to sprint through for a Sykes-converted consolation but Warrington had the final say when Noone powered over for his second.
  • Picture shows Nat Wood on his way to the try line.

  • Castleford Tigers 10 Warrington Wolves 32

    Wolves maul Tigers!

    by Gary Skentelbery

    A HAT-TRICK of tries from winger Ben Westwood condemned Castleford Tigers to a 32-10 defeat at The Jungle, leaving them anchored well and truly to the bottom of Super League.
    Although Castleford started well enough, going ahead after just five minutes when Nat Wood failed to hold Luke Robinson's grubber aallowing the on-loan scrum half to collect the loose ball to touch down, Westwood was the hero, scoring three times down the right as Warrington stepped up their push for a top six spot.
    Ryan Hudson produced a try-saving tackle on Wood, and Westwood twice knocked on with the line at his mercy before leaping above Paul Mellor to take Wood's bomb and open his account on 19 minutes.
    He crossed again five minutes later after Jerome Guisset's run, and two Paul Noone goals gave the Wolves a 12-4 cushion.
    Tiger's Wayne Godwin and Warrington prop Mark Hilton were both sin binned on the stroke of half-time following a flare-up at a scrum and without Godwin the Tigers lacked much of their direction.
    Jonny Hepworth's cover tackle on Wood eight minutes after the restart proved only to delay a third Warrington try, with Dean Gaskell taking the scrum half's long pass to score at the corner.
    Noone goaled from the touchline, and Westwood then completed his hat-trick on 55 minutes from Graham Appo's kick.
    Castleford had a try for Andy Lynch ruled out when the prop was adjudged to have lost the ball over the line, but they gave themselves hope of a fightback with 13 minutes remaining.
    It was again Robinson who was on hand to ground the ball after Godwin's grubber bounced free in the in-goal area, Godwin's goal making the scoreline 22-10.
    But any hopes a comeback were swiftly halted when Brent Grose sliced through on the right, and Wood sealed the win with three minutes remaining when he raced in from 30 yards.
    Wolves coach Paul Cullen said: "I'm very satisfied with the way we went about our business today, especially considering we had four of the (first choice) starting 13 sat in the stands.
    "There was a great element of control within the Warrington play, that has possibly not been there in some of the games we haven't won so far this season.
    "Defensively we really aimed up and we forced them into submission. Every time they got good ball and field position, our defence held firm.
    "There are some signs there that we are coming good - but we need to be with a visit to St Helens next week."

    St Helens 28 Warrington 8

    Same old story as

    Wolves miss their chance

    by Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON failed to take their chances and missed out on a golden opportunity to record their first ever Super League victory at St Helens.
    Saints scored four tries in 10 second half minutes as they battled back from a 6-2 half-time deficit to win 28-8.
    Saints were truly dreadful in the first half - making 12 errors and missing 26 tackles - but Warrington wasted the chance to take control of the game.
    Prop Danny Lima was the worst culprit when he dropped the ball in front of the sticks, and the Wolves had to settle for a 6-2 lead thanks to Nathan Woods' opportunist try just before the interval.
    The scrum-half caught Saints napping with a quick tap penalty five yards out and wriggled over the line.
    A Daryl Cardiss penalty stretched the lead to 8-2 after 43 minutes, but Saints finally rediscovered their attacking skills after nearly 50 minutes.
    Paul Sculthorpe - who had earlier twice kicked out on the full - broke through the line and his perfectly timed pass sent winger Darren Albert over in the corner. Sculthorpe added the extras but Warrington would have retaken the lead through Jerome Guisset but for a superb tackle on the line by Paul Wellens.
    That seemed to inspire Saints and two tries in as many minutes took them clear. First Jon Wilkin's cut-out pass sent Ian Hardman over, then Jason Hooper set up Willie Talau to score.
    With 15 minutes left Maurie Fa'asavalu broke away to increase the lead, before another break from Sculthorpe sent Hooper over under the sticks.
    Warrington coach Paul Cullen admitted his side missed a golden opportunity to beat their fierce local rivals.
    Cullen's side led 8-2 going into the final half-hour, but five Saints tries in the space of 20 minutes turned the game on its head.
    Cullen said: "Our frustrations are evident and obvious. The first 60 minutes of the game were ours, and the last 20 were theirs.
    "We were very dominant, especially around the rucks, but our inability to finish the plays we created has been our undoing once again.
    "I'm proud of the effort, but it only adds to the frustration at not finishing off St Helens when we had the chance.
    "The way we've gone about our game was great without Lee Briers and after losing Graham Appo at half-time, but it only adds to the frustration at not finishing off our plays - the building is in place but there is no roof.
    "We can compete but we need to know how to finish off sides. That will not go away until we make it go away."
    St Helens coach Ian Millward, in contrast, was happy to take the two points from a game where his side were far from their best.
    Millward admitted: "We were just happy to win the game. It was the lowest completion rate since I've been at the club - 35% - but defence won it for us.
    "The attack was poor but the defence was outstanding. We've come up with an ugly performance in attack but it shows our attitude in defence. This is a tough sport, and they don't need me throwing it down their throats.
    "But I thought their defence was outstanding too. They've drawn with Bradford and beaten Wigan so they are not a bad side - it's not like they are Halifax from 2003, they are a good team."

    Warrington 22 Leeds Rhinos 38


    ruins classic!

    by Gary Skentelbery

    REFEREE Russell Smith didn't little to endear himself to the Warrington fans as some crucial decisions cost Warrington dear.
    The sin binning of Mike Wainwright on the half hour for obstruction saw Leeds race in for two converted tries as they eventually ran out 38-22 winners to extend their lead in Super League.
    Until the sin binning the game was on a knife edge and looked set to be a classic.
    Leeds showed greater power and pace as they scored seven tries but their eventual victory was tinged by controversy as hooker Andrew Dunemann escaped a red card. The Australian was only put on report for a high tackle on fellow countryman Nat Wood after a 50-metre break from Lee Briers. Wood was stretchered off, but the Leeds man stayed on the pitch.
    Video replays later showed Dunemann appeared to connect with the ball first and no further action is likely to be taken as Wood suffered an ankle injury from a secondary tackle.
    Dunemann himself played a role in Leeds' first try with a high kick which, after contribtuions from Ali Lauiti'iti and Keith Senior, led to a score in the corner from Marcus Bai.
    Chev Walker soon added a second and skipper Kevin Sinfield converted both tries in a fine start for Leeds.
    Winger Graham Appo crossed in the corner for the Wolves, but Mr Smith again caused controversy, ruling it out for a forward pass.
    But Warrington responded with a try from Brent Grose and, after a Richie Mathers error, a second try came from Nat Wood as he won the race to a Briers' kick, to get Warrington back into the game. However the game was put out of Warrington's reach when Wainwright was sin-binned for obstruction and Leeds scored two tries - through Matt Diskin and Francis Cummins - when he was off the pitch. Second-half tries from Kevin Sinfield and Chris McKenna then put the game beyond Warrington. Warrington added two more tries from the hard working Darren Burns and Paul Noone but it was not enough for Paul Cullen's team and Danny McGuire capped Leeds' win with a late score. After the match Cullen said the game "hinged on bizarre decisions" but restrained himself from having a go at the officials, concentrating on his team's owen shortcomings.
    He decsribed it as an "ordinary performance" amd with a "fraction more effort we could have taken the game from Leeds. "It is not for me to use this press conference to have a go at the officials. I am more concerned with the amount of ball we squandered and taking the wrong options. That is what I will be working on in training."

    Warrington 18 Hull F.C. 38

    Cullen shoulders blame

    Pictures: George Thornton Words: Gary Skentelbery

    HEAD Coach Paul Cullen shouldered the blame after watching his team being booed off the pitch at the Haliwell Jones following a shocking 18-38 defeat to high flying Hull.
    After a promising start which saw Warrington take a 6-0 lead through Prop Chris Leikvoll Warrington collapsed producing one of their worst displays of the season.
    In his post match press conference Cullen shouldered the blame admitting he had signed and re-signed players who lacked leadership and desire.
    "All credit to Hull but they weren't creating gaps they were simply going through defenders.
    "These two points were very important to our top six aspirations. The aggresive element to our game was non-existent.
    "It is all on my shoulders as I have bought and re-signed players who are not ambitious enough to move on to the next level.
     The responsibility is mine. I have had long enough to instill pride and on today's performance they have none."
    After taking the lead Warrington could not breach the Hull defence and late tries from Brent Grose and Mike Wainwright merely gave the scoreline some respectability.
    Richie Barnett Junior scored Hull's first try and then two missed tackles on Gareth Raynor proved crucial as the winger put Hull ahead.
    A 40-yard run brought centre Richard Whiting a try converted by Paul Cooke.
    After the interval, Warrington failed to deal with Jason Smith's high kick and Nick Scruton scored as poor Gary Hulse, who was Warrington's best performer again failed to deal with a high kick.
    A Richard Horne kick set up full back Shaun Briscoe for a score of his own and Hull led by 26 points until Warrington's late comeback.
  • Pictures show (top) Mark Hilton on the charge, Coach Paul Cullen and Mike Forshaw.

  • Wakefield Wildcats 32 Warrington Wolves 26

    Wolves lose again!

    by Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON Wolves crashed to their 4th straight defeat as their poor run of form continued at Belle Vue.
    The Wildcats boosted their hopes of a play-off place with a 32-26 victory that was only sealed by Justin Ryder's late try after Warrington performed a little better than their last outing.
    But they were always chasing the game after the hosts managed to get off to a flying start as Ben Jeffries touched down inside the opening minute of the contest and winger Mick Wainwright soon extended Wakefield's advantage with a second try on 10 minutes.
    However, to their credit, Warrington refused to buckle and fought back with scores through Paul Wood and Mike Forshaw, which sandwiched a try by former Warrington favourite Sid Domic.
    The turning point of the game came just before the interval as David March kicked two penalties just before the hooter to leave Wakefield with a 20-12 advantage.
    The eight-point cushion soon became vital in the second half as Warrington came back strongly to level the scores at 26 all at one stage.
    A Darren Burns' double and a try from Danny Lima hlevelled the scores as Wakefield could only add to their half-time total with a score from David Solomona.
    But, with Lee Briers off-target with a couple of attempts at goal, March showed him how it should be done as he kept his cool to slot over a penalty with only five minutes remaining to give the Wildcats a lead they would not let slip for a second time, as Ryder's late score wrapped up the points and broke warrington's hearts.

    Huddersfield Giants 18 Warrington Wolves 34

    Competition is

    key to success

    by Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON kept their top six hopes alive as they defeated Huddersfield Giants 18-34 thanks to stunning second half display.
    The Wolves were on the rack for the opening quarter but soaked up everything the Giants threw at them, conceding just one try.
    Tries from Winger Dean Gaskell and skipper Lee Briers levelled the scores at the interval. Warrington got off to a flier in the second half and for once ended up the stronger team in the closing stages.
    Head Coach Paul Cullen admits that renewed competition for places, following the capture of Great Britain centre Martin Gleeson and New Zealand international winger Henry Fa'afili, had spurred his side on.
    "The signings have lifted everyone involved in the club," said Cullen.
    "It's a big challenge for the players that we are bringing in international three-quarters, and the pack must give them room to play with their go-forward." "We spent all week not chasing the result and it paid off," added Cullen. "Our energy was visible at the back end. "We responded well to nine back-to-back sets and that proved pivotal. "Technically and tactically we were right, and from one to 17 we aimed up." A brace of tries either side of the break for Briers proved crucial, with the stand off also kicking five goals to signal his challenge for a Great Britain recall.
    "When Lee runs at the line he is a genuine threat, and when his kicks go over from the touchline it is a boost," said Cullen.
    "Lee has the talent to press for international recognition, and it needs consistent performances from him and his team-mates to push him forward."
    Giants coach Jon Sharp admitted he was a worried man, after seeing a poor spell either side of the interval, where they conceded three tries in ten minutes for the second successive week.
    "The result is obviously very disappointing," he said. "For large chunks of the game I thought we were the better side, and we dominated huge facets of the game.
    "But we came out in the second half very poorly, and the same thing happened to us at Castleford.
    "Over the last six weeks we have controlled chunks of games and we're struggling to sustain it. It's a concern to us.
    "Warrington sustained and absorbed lots of pressure really well and came back to finish better than us."

    Warrington Wolves 46 Salford City Reds 20

    Wolves turn

    up the heat

    Pictures George Thornton Words Gary Skentelbery

    Warrington Wolves turned up the heat on the race for a top six spot as they moved up to seventh in the Super League table after beating Salford City Reds 46-20.
    But it took a try from the visitors after 15 minutes to spark the Wolves into life as they raced into a 30-6 half-time lead with some stunning rugby in sweltering conditions.
    Gary Hulse and Darren Burns scored a brace each and were joined on the score sheet by Mike Forshaw, Ben Westwood, Graham Appo and Jerome Guisset. Lee Briers was superb with the boot kicking seven of the eight conversions.
    Salford, who mounted a brief second half recovery, scored four tries through Kevin McGuinness, Andrew Johnson, Stuart Littler and Nathan McAvoy. Chris Charles kicked two conversions.
    Despite Salford going ahead after 15 minutes through a McGuinness try, Warrington responded in a clinical manner by scoring five tries in just 20 minutes to keep their top six hopes alive as both Huddersfield and Wakefield lost.
    Head Coach Paul Cullen singled out Lee Briers' impressive kicking performance.
    "Lee Briers showed how important he is to us and Graham Appo also did well," said Cullen.
    But it was pint sized Gary Hulse who was voted man of the match with another top class performance, playing out of position at full-back.
    Although still jittery under the high ball, he pulled off some fine try saving tackles as the last line of defence and his support play was rewarded with two tries.
  • Pictures show Lima on his way to setting up Hulse's try and Hulse off-loading to Darren Burns.

  • Bradford Bulls 36 Warrington Wolves 22

    Brave Wolves pay

    the penalty!!

    by Gary Skentelbery

    POWERHOUSE winger Lesley Vainikolo continued to haunt Warrington as he helped Bradford Bulls overcome a brave challenge from the Wolves.
    All square at the break Vainikolo romped in for a second half hat-trick to finish off Warrington who were guilty of giving away far too many penalties.
    The Bulls opened up an 8-0 lead with Paul Deacon kicking a penalty before former Warrington star Iestyn Harris sent Shontayne Hape over for a converted try.
    Returning from injury Nathan Wood hit back for the Wolves following good work by Brent Grose to cut the lead to two points.
    But Harris again proved the creator for the home side, bursting through and putting Stuart Reardon over on 27 minutes.
    Deacon converted and added another penalty, but Warrington hit back from 16-6 to level matters going into the break.
    Both Nat Wood and Grose intercepted passes from Harris and Deacon respectively out to race over, with Lee Briers converting the second.
    Warrington were unable to convert their chances early in the second period, and Vainikolo made them pay with a quick-fire double to push the Bulls out to 26-16.
    The hard working Mark Gleeson saw his efforts rewarded with a try to again hit back for Warrington, who also saw Wood held up over the line, which was the turning point.
    A superb solo effort from substitute Chris Bridge gave the Bulls breathing space before Vainikolo took a return pass from Jamie Peacock to complete his hat-trick and seal victory.
    After the match Wolves coach Paul Cullen admitted: "The difference between victory and defeat were the penalties we conceded.
    "I thought we matched them blow for blow but ultimately paid the price for needlessly giving away six penalties early in the game.
    "If we want to cement a place in the top six we have to improve our discipline."

    London Broncos 34 Warrington Wolves 26

    Wolves lose out to

    birthday boys

    By Sports staff

    WOLVES were leading 22-12 at half-time in a match they knew was going to be a tough one.
    But the home side celebrated their 10th birthday with a superb second-half fight back and then managed to hold off a late rally by Wolves.
    Wolves made all the running in the early stages. Jon Clarke went over from close range against his former club to open the scoring and then Appo and Darren Burns set up Henry Fa’afili to put them further ahead.
    After 16 minutes, Broncos showed a glimpse of what was to come later when Dennis Moran sent Paul Sykes away to power his way over the line.
    But on 28 minutes, Westwood raced 80 metres to touch down under the posts and three minutes later Wolves moved further ahead with Appo chipping over the top of the defence and Fa’afili scoring his second try.
    Broncos finished the half strongly with Roy collecting Sykes’ kick over the head of Gary Hulse before touching down.
    In the second half, tries from Rob Purdham and Steele Retchless levelled the game at 22-22 and two more tries from Lee Greenwood offset one from Ian Sibbit.
    Wolves performed well - but seemed to lose concentration in the early part of the second half when much of the damage was done. Their late rally was not enough to break through a lively Broncos side determined to ensure their Super League future for another season.

    Salford City Reds 6 Warrington Wolves 32

    Play-off hopes

    kept alive

    By Gary Skentelbery

    WOLVES kept hopes alive for a play-offs spot with a convincing win at Salford - showing that against the lesser clubs they can turn in a convincing performance.
    They defended well, although whether they would have been able to do so well against more determined opposition is debatable. The Reds were no match for them, however, so the jury is still out.
    Even so, they were only 10 points adrift after 64 minutes and it took late tries from Gary Hulse, Paul Wood and Ian Sibbit to finally snuff out their resistance.
    Wolves opened their account after 15 minutes when Henry Fa’afili intercepted a rash pass to touch down. Graham Appo converted.
    Salford levelled the scores after 20 minutes. But Brent Grose put Wolves ahead eight minutes later to make the score 6-12, which was how it stayed at the interval.
    Mark Hilton made it 6-16 after 56 minutes and went over again for Appo to goal and make the score line 6-22. Paul Wood showed the defence his heels to make it 6-26 and Sibbit crossed the line direct form a scrum for Appo to hammer in the final nail.
    Coach Paul Cullen later described the performance as “professional and methodical.”
    But these were not qualities that could be ascribed to the home side and Wolves’ victory has to be put in perspective. Salford’s continued existence in the Super League has to be considered doubtful.

    Warrington Wolves 24 St Helens 26

    Saints inflict more

    heartbreak for Wolves

    by Gary Skentelbery

    WARRINGTON'S top six dream ended in a heart breaking defeat by St Helens.
    The Wolves were within minutes of securing a rare victory over their near neighbours but were brutally punished for failing to kill off the opposition who they outscored by five tries to four.
    Five missed conversion attempts, three by Graham Appo and two by skipper Lee Briers, proved extremely costly as defeat cost Warrington their chance of making the play offs.
    The Wolves also had two "tries" disallowed by referee Ashley Klein, who came in for plenty of stick from the Warrington fans in the near 12,000 crowd.
    It was Wolves old boy Paul Sculthrope who came back to haunt Warrington as he was the main differnce between the two teams.
    Sculthorpe grabbed the first try after two minutes, but Warrington levelled after 12 minutes when Dean Gaskell went over after a great break from Darren Burns.
    Saints regained the lead after 17 minutes when winger Darren Albert and Sculthorpe combined to send full-back Paul Wellens over, but the Wolves hit back when Nathan Wood shot over straight from a scrum.
    Man of the match Mike Wainwright put Warrington ahead when Mike Bennett lost the ball in the tackle, then added his second from a pass by Wood.
    But Saints hit back to close the deficit to two points at the break when Sculthorpe's clever inside pass sent Micky Higham over.
    Sculthorpe's penalty for a high tackle early in the second half by Jerome Guisset on Keith Mason levelled the scores once again, then a rare error from Sculthorpe - dropping Higham's pass with the line gaping left the scores level.
    Warrington looked to have clinched a famous victory when Briers' long pass to Appo put the Wolves 24-20 ahead only for Sculthorpe to send Hooper over in the last minute.
    Wolves Coach Paul Cullen said he was proud of his sides commitment in difficult playing conditions but when reflecting on the match he will be left wondering how Warrington again managed to lose a match they should have won.

    Warrington Wolves 27 Bradford Bulls 28

    Last gasp heart

    break for Wolves

    By Sports staff

    A last-gasp drop goal inflicted more heart break for Warrington Wolves as the curtain came down on the first season at the Halliwell Jones in front of another 10,000 plus crowd.
    Trailing 6-22 at the break Warrington stromed back in the second half to lead 26-22 and looked to have pulled off an amazing come back.
    But old boy Iestyn Harris stormed through a gap to level the scores and then half-back Paul Deacon slotted over a drop goal as the Bulsl regained the lead.
    Wolves skipper Lee Briers thought he had done enough to get a share of the spoils when he slotted over a drop goal with a minute to go but back came Bradford with Deacon snatching victory with the very last kick of the game.
    Warrington took the lead inside three minutes, with Danny Lima making the initial yards before Briers put Ian Sibbit over for the opening score, with Briers converting.
    The Wolves stand off missed with a penalty kick soon afterwards, and that proved crucial as the Bulls roared back, with Jamie Langley coasting through to touch down, Deacon adding the extras.
    Bradford then took the lead on 17 minutes, with Henry Fa'afili and Graham Appo failing to clear up Deacon's kick to allow Lesley Vainikolo to score his 34th try of the season.
    The Kiwi winger then created a score for Shontayne Hape, and the Bulls found themselves 14-6 up in the blink of an eye.
    Deacon edged the Bulls further ahead with a penalty before Harris touched down to open up a 22-6 interval lead.
    Warrington hit back through Graham Appo seven minutes after the restart, and when Dean Gaskell sent Paul Wood in, the Wolves were back to within six points.
    Centre Brent Grose then cut the gap further by dancing his way to the line, and the Wolves took the lead with nine minutes remaining.
    Gaskell pounced on a Briers kick which bounced kindly, with the Wolves skipper converting from the touchline.
    But Warrington's joy was short lived and they were left reflecting on what could have been.
    Head Coach Paul Cullen said: "I thought we were the better team for 75 minutes but were blown away by a five-minute whirlwind when they scored three tries.
    "To take that kind of punishment and come back from it was remarkable.
    "Our league position is justified because we have not won enough games - but we are up there fighting with the big boys now.
    "That is where we want to be and it gives us good heart."
  • The game brought the curtain down on the Warrington careers of loose forward Mike Forshaw and Aussie Darren Burns and Frenchman Jerome Guisett who is switching to Rugby Union after not being offered a new contract by Wolves.
    It could also have been a farewell performance by fans favourite half-back Gary Hulse and second rower Ian Sibbitt who have not had their contracts renewed.

  • Wigan Warriors 26 Warrington Wolves 24

    More heartbreak for

    Wolves at JJB!

    By Sports staff

    FOR the second year running Warrington suffered last minute heartbreak at Wigan's JJB Stadium.
    Looking to bounce back from their shock Good Friday defeat to lowly Widnes, Warrington produced a vastly improved performance to give them good heart for the Challenge Cup semi-final clash on Sunday.
    Skipper Andy Farrell kicked Wigan to victory as Warrington gave away needless penalities in the second half.
    Farrell's ffifth goal of the game gave Wigan the points after Danny Tickle's late try had clawed the Warriors level.
    The Wolves looked to be heading for victory when former Wigan star Jon Clarke grabbed their 4th try but Wigan came back with Tickle's touchdown in a dramatic finish.
    Right winger Martin Aspinwall gave Wigan an early lead with his 7th try in nine games after earlier denying Warrington when loose forward Mike Wainwright, with the Wigan line at his mercy, knocked on under the weight of Aspinwall's tackle.
    Aspinwall then struck at the other end after Danny Orr set up the attack when Wigan stole the ball from a Warrington scrum on halfway. With the Wolves' defence stretched, Stephen Wild's pass put Aspinwall in at the corner.
    But the Wolves hit back at the double. A kick from Paul Noone hit Farrell on the leg and props Quentin Pongia and Danny Sculthorpe were both caught offside and chose not to pick up the loose ball. But Gary Hulse gratefully accepted the opportunity to snap it up and dive over.
    Wigan were again caught out when winger Dean Gaskell took Nathan Wood's bomb superbly to touchdown.
    Noone landed both conversions to give the Wolves a 12-4 half time advantage but Wigan quickly closed the gap after the break when Sculthorpe sent Aussie winger Brett Dallas racing over and three Farrell penalty goals restored Wigan's advantage.
    Dallas grabbed his second try, converted by Farrell, but Warrington stormed back with winger Richard Varkulis scoring in the corner, and Noone adding a superb goal from the touchline.
    Former Wigan hooker Clarke then put the cat among the pigeons finishing off a terrific move to score under the posts and Noone's fourth goal nudged Warrington in front.
    But Tickle levelled the scores with a chip and chase to the line which he won to touch down and Farrell's kick earned Wigan an unlikely victory.