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Warrington Wolves beat Wigan Warriors at Anfield to lift Locker Cup

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Pictures Eddie Whitham

BLAKE Austin was the star as Warrington Wolves beat Wigan Warriors 26-14 in the final game of the first day of Magic Weekend at Anfield.

Austin came up with a piece of magic just before the hour mark to break Wigan’s resolve and put Warrington back in to a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Austin also pounced on a loose ball to send Toby King away for a length of the field effort which put the game beyond the Warriors, who lost to the Wolves for the third time this season.

It took a bit of magic between Blake Austin and Daryl Clark to first open up the Warriors defence, the latter being held up a few metres short of the line after 14 minutes.

Wigan worked their way up the Anfield pitch after that and got the first score of the game, Zak Hardaker clipping over a penalty from just left of the posts for 2-0.

The only try of the first half came on 22 minutes and it went to Warrington. Tom Lineham chipped it over the head of opposite number Chris Hankinson close to the touchline and then played the ball inside with his right foot in a style more akin to the usual sport played on this surface, with Dec Patton the gleeful recipient for the first try.

From the kick-off, Wigan were dealt a blow when Joe Greenwood was forced off injured, just as he did at the Nou Camp last week, having come off worse in a collision with Joe Philbin.

Patton added a penalty to make it 8-2 six minutes from half time and moments later, Willie Isa was perhaps fortunate to avoid a sin-binning for a reckless high shot on Jack Hughes.

Warrington got forward again and Ben Murdoch-Masila charged through the line from 20 metres out and was odds on to score a try until Hardaker somehow managed to dislodge the ball and deny the big Tongan meaning the score remained 8-2 at half time.

Wigan started the second half brightly and they pulled a try back on 46 minutes when Joe Burgess took a sharp low pass from George Williams and burrowed his way over.

Six minutes later, it was all square when Hardaker added a penalty after Chris Hill was penalised for a flop on Jarrod Sammut.

The game was finely poised, that was until Austin hit the line like a forward 30 metres out and found a great line to romp by the posts in front of his adoring faithful.

Wigan hit back though, and when a kick fell to Willie Isa, he kept it alive and found Sean O’Loughlin, another high kick claimed by Josh Charnley who was forced behind his own line by Burgess and Gildart.

But Wigan would be broken by the repeat set, a high kick again on the last bouncing in Warrington’s favour, picked up by man of the match Austin and he raced 40 metres before putting King away for what was a telling score.

From there on in, Warrington kept the scoreline ticking over with a number of penalties, Patton ending with seven two-pointers in total and Isa’s late try was scant consolation for the Wigan fans as they headed for the exits in the Kop end.

Wigan: Hardaker, Hankinson, Sarginson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, O’Loughlin, Flower, Shorrocks, Bullock, Isa, Greenwood, Clubb. Subs: Tautai, Smithies, Sammut, Partington.

Warrington: Mamo, Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, D Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Philbin. Subs: Murdoch-Masila, J Clark, Akauola, Walker.

Blake Austin on his way to the try line – Picture Eddie Whitham

Austin celebrates – Picture Eddie Whitham

Toby King on his way to the try line – Picture Eddie Whitham

One in the eye from Toby King – Picture Eddie Whitham

Click Here for a gallery of 45 pictures

Action pictures from the PDRL curtain raiser which included guest appearances by legends Lee Briers, Kevin Ellis and Alan Bateman – 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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