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Still on cloud nine after securing their place in the Challenge Cup final, Warrington Wolves made the trip to the south of France to take on a Catalans Dragons side with the chance to join St Helens at the top of the table the spoils for the victor.

It wasn´t an easy game to call, the bookies giving Warrington a four-point start on the handicap coupon, the normal weighting in favour of the home side due to their home advantage.

Coach Burgess kept the same starting seventeen that beat the Giants in the cup last weekend, Steve McNamara had Theo Fages back in the side in place of Jayden Nikorima who was moved to the bench, but McIlorum and McMeeken were missing from the squad with injuries.

It was a frantic opening fifteen minutes but after back-to-back six-agains the Dragons were camped on the Wolves line before Josh Thewlis intercepted and sprinted sixty metres before being caught by Tom Davies. The Dragons winger held on too long and was sin-binned for a professional foul. Thewlis kicked the resulting penalty, in off the far post for a 2-0 lead on nineteen minutes.

A high tackle on Arthur Mourgue on the half hour saw the scores level and Lachlan Fitzgibbon sin-sinned for an arm to the head. Mourgue pointed to the sticks and kicked the penalty for 2-2, it was as close as had been billed, there was literally nothing between the two sides.

Three minutes after the restart the game had it’s first try as George Williams took a pass from Matt Dufty to go over the top of the Dragons tackler and force the ball to the ground. Thewlis added the conversion for a six-point lead.

Arthur Romano was held up over the line on forty-seven after he crashed the Wolves line off a Mourgue pass.

The lead went to eight points on fifty-three thanks to another Thewlis penalty goal after a high tackle in front of the Dragons sticks. As the game moved past the hour mark the Wolves were in charge and frustrating the Dragons with a sensational defence.

The Dragons were trying everything in their arsenal to unlock the Wolves defence but coming up short and on sixty-nine minutes Matty Ashton picked up a bounce pass and sprinted down the left wing to score in the corner. Thewlis missed his first kick of the afternoon, the lead now twelve points.

Seven minutes from time Tom Davies slid over in the right corner off a Theo Fages miss-out pass. It was a massive kick from the touchline for Mourgue and he nailed it to reduce the arrears to six points. There was some hope for the home side.

A horrendous knock-on from Mourgue, five from his own line and under no pressure, handed the initiative back to Warrington. Some after in a tackle give the Wolves a penalty close to the sticks and Thewlis added the two points for a 16-8 win and a big victory for visitors.

It was an intense game and one in which the visitors frustrated the home side to take the win and the two points to go joint top of the table to build on last weeks Challenge Cup semi-final win, the Wolves are definitely a side on the up and they played the near perfect defensive game against a Catalans Dragons side who will still be a major competitor for the top spot at the end of the season. The Wolves played well as a unit, well drilled, and benefitting from spending the week in camp in France to prepare for the game.

Catalans Dragons: Mourgue (2/2 G), Davies (T, SB on 16), Romano, Ikuvalu, Johnstone, Abdull, Fages, Navarrete, Da Costa, Bousquet, Sims, Sironen, Garcia.  Subs: Nikorima, Séguier, Satae, Dezaria. 18th Man: Maria.

Warrington Wolves: Dufty, Thewlis (4/5 G), King, Tai, Ashton (T), Williams (T), Drinkwater, Harrison, Walker, Vaughan, Nicholson, Fitzgibbon (SB on 30), Currie. Subs: Philbin, Musgrove, Wood, Powell. 18th Man: Ratchford. 

Half-Time: 2-2.

Full-Time: 8-16.

Score Progression: (SB), 0-2, (SB), 2-2 : HT: 2-6, 2-8, 2-10, 2-14, 6-14, 8-14, 8-16 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Warrington – Square - Warrington.

Referee: Chris Kendall.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 25th May 2024 7:19 PM | Views : 3992 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES