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Warrington 54-12 Catalans Dragons

Warrington (24) 54
Tries: Harrison, L Anderson 3, King, Riley, Briers, Myler, Clarke Goals: Westwood 7, Briers, Myler

Catalans Dragons (6) 12
Tries: Greenshields 2 Goals: Bosc 2

Louis Anderson
Louis Anderson dives over to complete his hat-trick in Warrington's 54-12 Challenge Cup semi-final demolition of Catalans Dragons

By Ged Scott

Holders Warrington booked a return to Wembley on 28 August after storming to a dazzling nine-try Challenge Cup semi-final win over Catalans Dragons.

The French side, beaten finalists in 2007, had beaten Warrington 29-28 in Perpignan just a fortnight ago.

But there was no chance of another upset, forward Louis Anderson leading the way with three of his side's tries.

Ben Harrison, Matt King, Chris Riley, Lee Briers, Richie Myler and Jon Clarke also got in on the try-scoring act.

Warrington had been given a real scare in the quarter-finals at Odsal more than two months ago when they squeezed past Bradford 26-22.

But, after earning the advantage of having to travel a mere eight miles to Widnes for this semi-final, it rapidly became clear that the Wolves would find things a bit easier almost on their own doorstep.

Tony Smith's men struck twice inside the first 12 minutes and, from then on, there was no looking back as they booked a return to Wembley - to face last year's Super League champions Leeds.

They added two more tries before the break, Catalans' only response being a solo effort by Clint Greenshields two minutes from half-time.


But the Wolves added five more after the interval, Catalans' only consolation coming in the dying seconds when Greenshields sneaked over for his second.

Warrington had already suffered one near miss when loose forward Ben Harrison overpowered the efforts of four Dragons tacklers to crash over for the opening score on six minutes.

And, inside five minutes, Smith's men added a second when, from stand-off Briers' high kick, centre Ryan Atkins was allowed to make a catch which he transferred back for second row Louis Anderson to cross.

It was an Atkins break that led to Warrington's third try on 28 minutes when King finished off a sweeping move down the line with a lovely dummy.

And they had just three minutes to wait for another one, the try of the match involving both wingers.

From Briers' kick, Chris Hicks broke inside, released to Michael Monaghan and the scrum-half kicked for the left corner, Riley timing his run just right.

Having opened up a 24-0 lead, thanks to Ben Westwood converting all his kicks, Catalans briefly stemmed the blue and yellow tide when, after Briers was penalised for pushing, Dragons top try scorer Greenshields sneaked over.

But Briers took just five second-half minutes to make amends when he too got in on the scoring act, snaking out an arm to score just to the right of the posts.

And the introduction of Myler just before the hour mark immediately brought two more tries.

It was Myler's blindside run which took the Dragons defence away, allowing Anderson to cruise through the gap and latch onto Monaghan's kick from dummy-half.

Briers' break then opened the door for Myler to score himself.

And rampant Warrington then made it three tries in four minutes when Anderson - who had scored just twice in 25 previous appearances - latched onto a superb offload from David Solomona before racing 70 yards to complete his hat-trick.

But possibly the most popular scorer of the afternoon was hooker Clarke, who marked his first start after a 12-month injury nightmare with try number nine 11 minutes from time.

Catalans at least showed character by ending the second half just as they had closed the first, by scoring the final try. But that was far too little to prevent Warrington booking a repeat of their first Challenge Cup final meeting at Wembley against Leeds since 1936.

Warrington lost that game 74 years ago, 18-2, in front of 51,350. But, in front of a crowd not far short of double that in three weeks' time, of more relevance to former Leeds coach Smith when his team do battle with his old side will be this season's Super League results.

And, in that department, despite trailing second-placed Warrington by five points in the table, fifth-placed Leeds hold the upper hand, having twice beaten Smith's men.

A 26-16 defeat at Headingley in mid-May was followed by a 37-30 win at the Halliwell Jones in late June when Kevin Sinfield's kicking proved the difference between the two sides.

The authorities were forced to make a late switch after video referee Steve Ganson was forced to miss the game.

Ganson had to be replaced by Oldham's Ian Smith, after being arrested on suspicion of assault.

The 40-year-old from St Helens was held by police in the early hours following an altercation outside the Holiday Inn hotel in Haydock which left an 87-year-old woman seriously injured in hospital.

Rugby Football League media manager John Ledger confirmed that Ganson was being held in police custody.

"We're aware of the incident and are monitoring the situation," he said.

Warrington: Mathers, Hicks, King, Atkins, Riley, Briers, Monaghan, Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison.
Replacements: Myler, Wood, Solomona, V Anderson.

Catalans Dragons: Greenshields, Bell, Raguin, Carlaw, Walker, Bosc, Sherwin, Casty, McGuire, Fakir, Elima, Mounis, Sa.
Replacements: Ferriol, Guisset, Gossard, Simon.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury).

Attendance: 12,265.

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see also
Wolves to be Wembley 'underdogs'
08 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Riley aware of Catalans' threat
04 Aug 10 |  Warrington
Grix to miss Challenge Cup game
03 Aug 10 |  Warrington
Bell hopes for Wembley farewell
03 Aug 10 |  Catalans
Bradford 22-26 Warrington
30 May 10 |  Rugby League
Batley 12-74 Catalans
29 May 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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