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Warrington Wolves heading to Wembley once again!

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Pictures Eddie Whitham

WARRINGTON Wolves will play Catalans in the 2018 Challenge Cup final at Wembley after comfortably dispatching Leeds 48-12 in the semi-final at the University of Bolton Stadium.

A purple patch in the middle of the first half which saw three tries in seven minutes helped break the resolve of Leeds, who will end the season battling for Super League survival in The Qualifiers.

It means Warrington are going to Wembley for the fifth time in 10 years, as they hope to add to their wins in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

Warrington started well and managed the game in the early 10 minutes. Off the very first set of the game, Toby King got up above Jack Walker to claim a high kick by Tyrone Roberts, offload to Josh Charnley who was held up over the line.

Off the next two sets, again the Wolves asked questions with a probing kick, forcing a drop out.

Leeds were probably relieved that the only score Warrington managed in the opening exchanges was a Roberts penalty for 2-0.

And in their first real attack, the Rhinos would score the first try. They shifted the ball left and following a quick play the ball, Sydney Roosters bound winger Hall went down the blindside, stepped Charnley and went over for a try.

That prompted Leeds’ best period of the first half, and they pinned Warrington back, forcing two drop outs.

But the Wolves would turn defence in to attack, from the base of the scrum on their own 20 metre line, Tom Lineham burst through two tacklers and ran 80 metres unopposed for their first try on 22 minutes.

They would make it a double blow for Leeds two minutes later when a play similar to the one at the end of the very first set of the game saw King rise above Hall this time, and he fended off a defender and passed to Charnley who scored acrobatically in the corner.

Warrington had lifted the intensity of the game and Leeds couldn’t cope with their speed of play. Kevin Brown dummied his way over on the half hour mark and Roberts’ fourth successful kick of the game had them out to 20-6.

A lovely move down the blindside on the left had the Wolves knocking again, Lineham forcing a drop out off his own little kick, but they would have to wait right until the stroke of half time to score again, Ben Murdoch-Masila taking Roberts’ pass out wide and rampaging his way to the line from 20 metres for a 26-6 half time lead.

Although Ratchford’s kick off out on the full would set Leeds up for a spell of promise, during which they scored through Adam Cuthbertson, it would turn in to a one-sided second half where Warrington cut loose to ease home.

It took until the 58th minute for them to break through after the break, Daryl Clark holding off former team mate Brad Dwyer and breaking down the right before waiting for support and feeding Charnley for his second try of the afternoon.

Roberts kept up his perfect record with the boot and then tagged on a penalty on 65 minutes to stretch the advantage to 34-12.

Toby King got a try his efforts deserved when he romped away down the right and with four in support, dummied past the defence to score himself and later on, on the other side, Bryson Goodwin sliced through some weak defence to score.

Of all people Ben Westwood couldn’t bring up the 50, missing the subsequent conversion from bang in front of the posts but it mattered little as the Wolves are off to Wembley.

Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, T King, Charnley, K Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood. Subs: Murdoch-Masila, G King, Patton, Philbin.

Leeds: Walker, T Briscoe, Handley, Sutcliffe, Hall, Moon, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Ferres, Ablett, Jones-Buchanan. Subs: Dwyer, Oledzki, Peteru, Walters.

CLICK HERE for a gallery of nearly 100 pictures by Eddie Whitham

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About Author

Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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