Match Report – Leeds 20 – 22 Warrington

Connor Wrench’s try and the conversion from Stefan Ratchford snatched victory for Warrington Wolves in Daryl Powell’s first game in charge; Leeds Rhinos had to play a man down for over an hour after James Bentley was sent off in the 15th minute

Last Updated: 12/02/22 3:05pm

Connor Wrench goes over for the crucial try in Warrington's win over Leeds

Connor Wrench goes over for the crucial try in Warrington’s win over Leeds

Connor Wrench’s converted try six minutes from time ensured Warrington Wolves fought back from 10 points down to beat 12-man Leeds Rhino 22-20 in an engrossing Super League contest at Headingley.

The outcome of Daryl Powell’s first match as Wolves head coach hinged on the dismissal of former St Helens second-rower James Bentley just 15 minutes into his Rhinos debut for a high tackle on Warrington stand-off Gareth Widdop.

It forced Leeds to play for over an hour a man short and they were at one time down to 11 after the sin-binning of Brad Dwyer. Richard Agar’s men also lost Richie Myler and another debutant, David Fusitu’a, to injury in the first half but displayed immense grit and tenacity to stay in the game until fatigue took its toll.

Story of the game

Leeds had all the early pressure without making it count and the visitors, having put themselves under pressure with a couple of unforced handling errors, went in front from their first meaningful attack on 11 minutes.

A neat pass from centre Wrench, deputising for the injured Toby King, released pacy winger Matty Ashton and Widdop was on hand to finish off wide out.

It went from bad to worse for the Rhinos when Myler limped off and Bentley saw red for his ugly challenge on Widdop, but they responded magnificently to the adversity.

Replacement Dwyer got Zane Tetevano plunging over for a try four minutes later and five minutes after that his fellow front-rower Matt Prior marked the 300th appearance of his career with a similar short-range try.

Leeds were without former Warrington favourite Blake Austin through suspension and they also went into the game without injured centre Harry Newman. Full-back Jack Walker made his first Super League appearance for 15 months.

Warrington were without Toby King due to injury, while there were first starts for Peter Mata’utia and Oliver Holmes, and a debut for Joe Bullock off the interchange bench.

Ash Handley dots down for Leeds

Ash Handley dots down for Leeds

Rhyse Martin added both conversions to make it 12-4 but Leeds were temporarily reduced to 11 men when Dwyer was sin-binned for a push on Widdop after he had passed the ball, and the Wolves took full advantage.

A break by George Williams revealed a vast opening out on the right and Matt Davies and Oliver Holmes combined to give winger Josh Charnley an unopposed run to the line for a try which acting captain Stefan Ratchford converted.

Leeds began the second half without Fusitu’a, who had clearly not recovered from a heavy challenge from Ben Currie midway through the first half, but they continued to defy the odds by carving out a third try, winger Ash Handley touching down a clever kick from outstanding captain Kruise Leeming.

Martin kicked the touchline conversion and also added a penalty after Holmes had been sin-binned for a high tackle on Leeds second-rower James Donaldson.

Leeds: Tries – Zane Tevetano, Matt Prior, Ash Handley; Goals – Rhyse Martin (4).

Warrington: Tries – Josh Charnley (2), Gareth Widdop, Connor Wrench; Goals – Stefan Ratchford (3)

Josh Charnley ran in two tries for Warrington

Josh Charnley ran in two tries for Warrington

That made it 20-10 but, with Holmes back on the field, Warrington once more made the extra man count when Ratchford’s cut-out pass got Charnley in for his second try on 66 minutes.

Ratchford’s goal brought his side to within four points and it was all square on 73 minutes when the full-back got Wrench over for the Wolves’ fourth try.

Full-back Ratchford then kept his nerve to land the angled conversion to nudge them back in front and break Leeds’ hearts.

What’s next?

Warrington now prepare to host Powell’s former club Castleford Tigers, who were beaten at home by Salford Red Devils on Friday night, in the live Sky Sports match on Thursday, February 17 (8pm kick-off),

Leeds are in action live on Sky Sports the following day when they head to the DW Stadium to take on Wigan Warriors (8pm), victorious in their opening match of the season against Hull Kingston Rovers.

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