TWO first-half tries from Daryl Clark helped Warrington Wolves reach the Challenge Cup semi-finals after punishing first-half errors from Catalans Dragons for a 16-6 victory at Emerald Headingley.
Clark scored his tries, finishing off a break by Toby King and then taking a Chris Hill pass after the Dragons were split wide open by Warrington’s forwards.
Leading 14-0 at the break the Wolves could only add a second Widdop penalty as Catalans had plenty of the ball but couldn’t find a way through Warrington’s defence.
They eventually got some reward through Mike McMeeken’s try, but the Wire held out, leaving Steve Price’s final season in charge on course for silverware.
The Wire had to cope with the loss of Stefan Ratchford in the warm-up with a groin strain which meant a return for Blake Austin in the halves and Greh Inglish playing at full-back.
King’s break surged through to tee up Clark’s opening try, while a superb offload fed him a second after Hill had carved his way toward the line.
Continuous Catalans handling errors handed possession straight back to the Wolves.
McMeeken’s consolation try was the result of some maverick offloading, the kind of off-the-cuff play it took to break down Warrington.
After the game Warrington head coach Steve Price said: “It was unfortunate losing Stef warming up. It just flared up today. He was keen to play but he couldn’t get that push-off so we made the call.
“Nothing changed for us, Austin came straight in and I thought did a really good job for us. All 17 guys contributed.
“Defensively I thought we were outstanding. We laid a really good platform in that first 25 minutes.
“The momentum was always going to change but we showed a lot of determination and resilience to keep turning a quality team away. It was really pleasing. It was a good hard-nosed display.”
Catalans Dragons: S. Tomkins; Davies, Whare, Langi, Yaha; Maloney, Drinkwater, Bousquet, McIlorum, Dudson, J. Tomkins, McMeeken, Garcia.
Interchanges: Da Costa, Baitieri, Chan, Kasiano.
Warrington: Thewlis; Mamo, Inglis, King, Charnley; Austin, Widdop; Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, J. Clark.
Interchanges: Philbin, Davis, Mulhern, Akauola.
What a performance by this guy by the way @JoshThewlis_1 🤩
One of our own 🐺 pic.twitter.com/LWyXY8x0wD
— Warrington Wolves (@WarringtonRLFC) May 7, 2021
— Betfred Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) May 7, 2021