Pictures Eddie Whitham
WARRINGTON Wolves started their season with an impressive 26-6 victory over Leeds at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
They did the damage in the first half, with tries from Stefan Ratchford, Josh Charnley and Daryl Clark, despite spending 10 minutes with 12 men.
They would add a fourth try through marquee signing Blake Austin on the hour mark, before Leeds scored a late consolation through Stevie Ward after Toby King had been sinbinned for a tip tackle on the loose forward.
Early on, there was no real indication of the one-sided nature of the game as both sides felt each other out at the start of the season, a year on from when Leeds beat the Wolves in their 2018 opener.
Leeds broke through down the left on 12 minutes through Ash Handley and as he passed inside to Konrad Hurrell for a near certain try, the Tongan international was tackled without the ball by Jack Hughes, who was sent to the sinbin for his efforts.
But despite their numerical disadvantage, the Wolves would take charge of the game in the 10 minutes they were down to 12.
After seeing off the initial threat and making their way up the field off the back of a penalty, play opened up for the excellent Ratchford who dummied and then made his way over the line under pressure from Matt Parcell and Jack Walker.
He converted his own score and then tagged a penalty on so that when Hughes returned, his side were 8-0 to the good.
A mistake by Tom Briscoe then set the platform for Warrington’s second try, Charnley going over in the corner after Ryan Atkins took the play down the blindside, Ratchford converting for 14-0.
The hosts made it two tries in three minutes shortly after the half hour mark, Clark wriggling out of a challenge and crawling over the line under the posts, with the video referee showing he hadn’t been tackled despite his ball carrying arm hitting the floor.
They took a 20-0 lead in to the break, but only after Ratchford managed to hold up Jack Walker three minutes from time.
The second half was low on entertainment as the Wolves comfortably managed the game, without ever looking under a great deal of threat from the Rhinos.
Austin lit things up shortly before the hour, putting King through a gap and then backing up on his inside for try number four, Ratchford making it five from five with the boot.
The only blotch on the Wire copy book came in the final few minutes, Ward finding his way over the line as Leeds made their advantage pay, having seen King sinbinned for a tip tackle on Ward with eight minutes to play.
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Charnley, Goodwin, Atkins, Austin, Patton, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, King, Hughes, Westwood. Replacements: J. Clark, B. Murdoch-Masila, Philbin, Walker.
Leeds: Walker, T. Briscoe, Handley, Watkins, Hurrell, Lolohea, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Merrin, Ferres, Ward, L. Sutcliffe. Replacements: Dwyer, Singleton, Donaldson, Oledzki.