Warrington hold off superb Halifax

Warrington Wolves 24-16 Catalans Dragons

Warrington made it three wins in a row in the Qualifiers but they were pushed all the way by a terrific Halifax side at the Haliwell Jones Stadium.

The Wolves were expected to hammer an under strength Fax team but it became quickly evident that wouldn’t be the case as the visitors stood up to their Super League opponents.

It wasn’t until the final moments that Tony Smith’s side were able to pull away and at one point there was clear frustration on the terraces as they were unable to break down their Championship counterparts.

Some phenomenal Halifax defence early in the game kept the hosts out as James Saltonstall and Steve Tyrer denied Matty Russell, before Shane Grady some how stopped Stefan Ratchford grounding the ball.

Having survived the first quarter, Richard Marshall’s side were finally broken down when Peta Hiku showed great strength to score from close range following a Jack Hughes offload.

To their credit though, Fax came back and dominated the next 10 minutes as they forced numerous repeat sets on the Wolves line.

However, they were unable to find a way over and as half-time approached young hooker Morgan Smith looked to have extended the Wolves lead only to be denied by more heroic defence from Saltonstall.

Then seconds before the hooter the visitors got the try their first half efforts deserved as Tyrer put through a sublime kick for winger Chester Butler to collect and score.

Tyrer was unable to add the extras but in a game where they were expected to be beaten convincing, it was a superb showing from the Championship side with the scores locked at 4-4 after a tense first half.

The home side came out for the second half looking determined and they got back in front when Chris Hill burrowed his way over from five metres out.

You would have been forgiven for thinking that Warrington may run away with it from here but incredibly Fax came back and again it was Butler who scored, brushing off opposing winger Lineham to ground the ball.

The Wolves fans were becoming frustrated but they were able to ease some nerves when Kevin Brown’s kick found Russell, who did exceptionally well to catch and score.

Patton missed the kick leaving the Wire with a 14-8 advantage and just to underline how well Halifax had done, the Wolves chose to go for two to extend their advantage to 8 going into the final 10 minutes.

Halifax had run their blood to water but they were unable to deny the Wolves a try in the final moments as Andre Savelio powered over; Patton’s conversion made the final score 22-8.

Warrington: Ratchford, Russell, Hiku, Atkins, Lineham, Patton, Brown, Hill, Smith, Sims, Jullien, Hughes, Westwood. Interchange: Philbin, Dwyer, Savelio, King.

Halifax: Saltonstall, Butler, Woodburn-Hall, Tyrer, Worrincy, Murrell, Johnston, Morris, Kaye, Fairbank, Grady, Barber, Grix. Interchange: Mommone, Sio, Moore, Boyle.

Referee: Robert Hicks