Warrington Wolves are in a fight with Leeds Rhinos, Hull FC, Hull KR and Salford Red Devils for the final two play-off spots which is why their defeat to Leeds on Sunday was so crushing.
Despite leading 16-12 in the second half, the Wolves came away with a crushing defeat at Headingley.
They now only have a two point lead on those chasing them and Leeds in fact have a better points difference.
Their spot in the top six is now in serious danger which was unthinkable at the start of the year. They have lost 10 of their last 11 games.
Perhaps this is why Warrington fans were not happy as they reflected on the game with one fan wanting to blame the officials for the defeat.
https://t.co/vNN3u0UCFY we don’t help ourselves with the preformances but how many times have the referees let us down
— Oliver c (@Olly_Craig12) August 20, 2023
In general, Warrington fans were infuriated that they lost a game that they felt they were the better team in.
Best team by a mile. Fair play wire
All things being equal we win that by 20
— Matt Taylor (@MattJTaylor88) August 20, 2023
This was referenced by a number of Warrington fans.
I don’t know how you’ve lost that tbh 🤷♂️🤷♂️ odd brilliance from Leeds but should of been a win…bottled it again 👍
— Ryan williams (@Ryanwil05076171) August 20, 2023
In fact, one fan said they dominated the game.
Still get beat when they dominate a game.. players can’t manage games
— Horses Piss ™️ (@alltheps9) August 20, 2023
Meanwhile, another supporter claimed they should have been “battering” this Leeds team and given Leeds’ recent woes you can understand why but the Wolves haven’t been that hot themselves.
How did we lose to that Leeds team . It’s bloody awful we should be battering teams like that all over the place
— wirerugby (@MAnyinformation) August 20, 2023
It is no doubt a tough defeat for Warrington fans to take especially with how their season is currently going.
Warrington did make the best possible start when in their first set of six Matt Dufty stabbed a kick behind the Leeds defence chased through and grounded the ball in the corner. The try was awarded by the video referee.
Warrington nearly doubled their money when they stripped Leeds for numbers down the right edge with Josh Thewlis trying to squeeze in at the corner but a great tackle from Cameron Smith pulled his foot into touch as confirmed by the video referee. A warning for Leeds.
Leeds began to turn the screw after a sluggish start to proceedings but a lovely inside ball saw them carved up by Matt Dufty. They would cover well but yet another warning for Rohan Smith’s side.
The Rhinos thought they had scored themselves when Rhyse Martin cut inside found Sam Walters in support who juggled the ball batting it backwards to Cameron Smith who touched down but Walters was adjudged to have been taken without the ball and the penalty had been given already.
A moment later though and Leeds were over after a short ball put Sam Walters through, now playing at backrow with James McDonnell off.
Rhyse Martin made it 6-4 but their lead didn’t last long as Matt Dufty carved them open on a kick return and found Matty Ashton who finished off a length of the field try.
It should have been two tries in two minutes as Warrington tore down their left edge with Stefan Ratchford breaking clear. It was a certain try as they found Danny Walker inside but he dropped the ball.
It was another close call for Warrington when a chip kick from George Williams was taken by Ben Currie but it was too deep and he was out of the field as he landed.
Leeds looked dangerous at the other end but frequent miscommunication undid the Rhinos’ attacks again and again.
Just like in the first half, Leeds were slow out of the blocks and Warrington punished them this time earning a penalty which made it 12-6.
However, the scores were soon level when a floated kick to the corner by Aidan Sezer was taken by David Fusitu’a who grounded. The try was looked at for a long period by the video referee and then given.
But Leeds couldn’t capitalise on their momentum and an error allowed Warrington to roll down field where a lovely George Williams ball saw Stefan Ratchford ease through a gap to score. He missed the conversion attempt leaving it at 16-12.
Warrington did cross the whitewash again but it was disallowed by official Ben Thaler for obstruction on James Bentley.
Leeds then went down the other end of the field where a series of offloads allowed Aidan Sezer to waltz through where he found Luke Hooley in support to score his first try for Leeds. Rhyse Martin’s goal made it 18-16.
Leeds then struck a crucial blow after an offload allowed Cameron Smith to storm through and find Hooley. This time he was tackled but on the next tackle an insane Nene MacDonald offload gave the ball to Bentley to score in the corner. Rhyse Martin nailed the conversion to crucially make it 24-16.
But it wasn’t game over with Warrington hitting back immediately as a lovely Josh Drinkwater kick was taken and scored by Matty Nicholson.
Then at the death, Warrington had the chance to win the game but Matt Dufty fumbled a kick through by Stefan Ratchford.