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Wigan 26-39 Warrington

Wigan (8) 26
Tries: Bailey, Tomkins, Coley, Leuluai Goals: Richards 5

Warrington (28) 39
Tries: King 3, L Anderson, Briers, Cooper, Hicks Goals: Bridge 5 Drop: Briers

Matt King

Highlights - Wigan 26-39 Warrington

By Elizabeth Hudson

Warrington held off a second-half Wigan fightback to reach their first Challenge Cup final since 1990 after a thrilling victory.

The Wolves led 32-8 early in the second half, thanks to Matt King's hat-trick, after Lee Briers and Michael Monaghan had caused big problems for Wigan.

Sam Tomkins, Andy Coley and Thomas Leuluai all went over to give the Warriors hope.

But Briers kicked a drop goal and Chris Hicks's late try sealed the win.

Both sides made a nervy start but it was Warrington who came closest to scoring, only for Ben Westwood's effort to be disallowed by the video referee for obstruction.

Wigan also had a Richards effort ruled out by the video referee moments later, but they were not to be denied when an inside pass by Tomkins found Phil Bailey who side-stepped into the gap to go over on seven minutes.

Smith praises Warrington spirit

Then Warrington were penalised for offside and Pat Richards kicked over the resulting penalty to make it 8-0.

But it was one-way traffic thereafter as Warrington enjoyed the bulk of possession with Briers and Monaghan causing all sorts of problems for Wigan.

On 17 minutes, the Wolves got themselves back into the game with back-to-back sets and a short pass allowing King forced his way over for a first try - his 22nd try for the club.

And three minutes later they took the lead when Amos Roberts failed to collect a tricky Briers cross-field kick and Louis Anderson reacted quickest to get the ball down.


Wigan found it hard to get possession and their defence, which had been in superb form coming into the game, was under pressure while their cause was not helped when try-scorer Bailey was forced off with an Achilles injury.

It was no surprise when Briers turned scorer on 23 minutes when he found his way over for his side's third try and on the half-hour his pass on the overlap found Cooper and Chris Bridge added his fourth conversion.

Andy Coley pushed forward as Wigan tried to get back into the game but he was held up over the line.

King capped a perfect half for Warrington with his second try just before half-time when Michael Monaghan broke from dummy-half and sent a superb pass out to the Australian to leave the Wolves well in control.

Wigan needed to score first after the break but George Carmont was unable to take Cameron Phelps' pass, while at the other end Briers turned provider once more with another high cross-field kick and King timed his run and leap to perfection to touch down for his hat-trick.

Garreth Carvell
Garreth Carvell tries to get past Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin

Tomkins gave Wigan some hope when he went over on 54 minutes after Roberts kept the ball in play close to the touchline and flicked it back to the young scrum-half.

Warrington had their own injury concern when Chris Riley was knocked out and needed lengthy treatment for whiplash and concussion following an accidental collision with Joel Tomkins on 58 minutes.

The break helped to galvanise Wigan and a delightful offload by Paul Prescott sent Coley over on the hour mark as momentum started to swing their way and errors started to creep into the Warrington game.

Wigan threw everything at their opponents in the final 15 minutes and Leuluai showed his strength to squirm his way over after Palea'asina provided the drive forward.

But Briers eased any Warrington nerves with a 71st-minute drop goal and, as Wigan tired, Hicks took advantage to race through and seal a famous win for the Wolves.

Wigan: Phelps, Roberts, Gleeson, Carmont, Richards, S. Tomkins, Leuluai, Prescott, Riddell, Coley, Bailey, Hansen, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: Fielden, Paleaaesina, J. Tomkins, Flanagan.

Warrington: Mathers, Hicks, Bridge, King, Riley, Briers, Monaghan, Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L. Anderson, Harrison, Westwood.
Replacements: V. Anderson, Johnson, Cooper, Rauhihi.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)

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see also
Challenge Cup semi-final photos
08 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Briers hails influence of Smith
09 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Wigan 28-6 Salford
29 May 09 |  Rugby League
Hull KR 24-25 Warrington
30 May 09 |  Rugby League
Gleeson leaves Wolves for Wigan
06 Apr 09 |  Wigan
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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