Warrington Wolves 42-10 Leeds Rhinos: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

It is Warrington’s year?

They laid down a real marker with a thumping win over the Leeds Rhinos tonight.

It was a statement win over the Rhinos who weren’t at the races in the first half.


Warning from the Wolves
It didn’t take long for the Wolves to warn Leeds of their attacking potential. A lovely grubber kick from George Williams really should have been grounded by Peter Mata’utia.

Dufty darts over
After that warning, the very next set saw the Wolves cross. Ben Currie was put through a gap and found Matt Dufty in support to score.

Seven minutes of heaven from the Wolves
It was the perfect seven minutes from the Wolves to start the season. They had Leeds on the ropes again in the very next set with George Williams denied a try by an inch after good defence from Kruise Leeming. However, Richie Myler gave away a penalty and Ratchford made it 8-0.

Daryl Clark does what he does best
A darting Daryl Clark run exploited disarray in the Leeds defence as Aidan Sezer went down injured. He showed great strength to power over.

Exciting attack from the Wolves picks the Rhinos apart
A classic Warrington try akin to the rugby they played under Tony Smith at their best. A great offload from Josh Drinkwater, Clark bounced off Austin and fed the ball wide. It was then a simple case of allowing Josh Thewlis to dive in at the corner.

Another slip up for the Rhinos
It was another slip up from the Rhinos and this time a literal slip up as Myler slipped when a grubber kick went behind and allowed Danny Walker to ground.

Big Sam’s big moment
Sam Kasiano had been denied a try in the 38th minute by the video referee but a moment later a lovely short chip kick was claimed by the big prop to ground.

Debut try for Derrell
On a terrible day for the Rhinos, one of their new signings was a shining light. Derrell Olpherts did well for the most part and he produced a great finish after a Blake Austin pass – who was also one of Leeds’ better performers – to go in for a debut try.

Harrison hits back
A former Rhinos then got a deserved try as James Harrison barged his way over the line. It was followed up by a well finished try from Greg Minikin.

Sangare completes impressive debuts
Justin Sangare was another debutant who impressed for Leeds and he got a try as he hit a short ball from Austin saw him go over. Bizarrely, Rhyse Martin missed an easy conversion attempt to end his record of kicking goals in Super League without missing.

Talking Points:

Dynamic Wolves attack
The Warrington attack looked brilliant tonight. It was traditional Warrington with the off the cuff style that fired Warrington to the top under Tony Smith. Josh Drinkwater was outstanding and freed up George Williams. Daryl Clark was back to his best.

Leeds off the pace
The Rhinos just looked to playing the game at a slower pace than the Rhinos. People will point to the fact the Wolves made plenty of metres as a weakness but that is the way Rohan Smith’s Leeds play. The trouble is they looked unable to get back up the other end of the field playing much slower than we have come to know from the Rhinos under Smith.

Vaughan lays down a marker
Paul Vaughan laid down a marker in the absence of fellow new recruits Josh McGuire and Gil Dudson. He led the Wolves pack brilliantly down the middle of the field and bossed that portion of the field laying down the groundwork for a Warrington win.

Leeds lacking centres
Leeds were without first choice centres Harry Newman and Nene MacDonald and this paired with the fact their halfbacks are now learning to defend on the other side of the field to last year seemed to put extra strain on Leeds’ edge defence. Richie Myler had a difficult night too which didn’t help.

Is it Warrington’s year?
“It’s always your year” has been the chants towards Warrington over the last decade or so and it is something that Daryl Powell has said “winds him up.” However, on tonight’s evidence it could be. This wasn’t even Warrington’s strongest team with McGuire and Dudson absent. Add them, they could have a pack to rival St Helens.

Worrying start for Leeds
Once again it is a disappointing start to the season for Leeds in 2023. It seems to underline the idea that the Rhinos have perhaps taken a step back to go forward investing in youth rather than looking top upgrade their starting 17.

Warrington Wolves
1 Matt Dufty – 8
2 Josh Thewlis – 8
3 Peter Mata’utia – 8
4 Stefan Ratchford – 8
5 Matty Ashton – 8
6 George Williams – 9
7 Josh Drinkwater – 9
10 Paul Vaughan – 9
9 Daryl Clark – 9
18 Thomas Mikaele – 8
11 Ben Currie – 8
12 Matty Nicholson – 7
8 James Harrison – 9
14 Sam Kasiano – 9
16 Danny Walker – 9
19 Joe Bullock – 8
21 Greg Minikin – 8

Leeds Rhinos
1 Richie Myler – 4
24 Luis Roberts – 5
2 David Fusitu’a – 4
5 Ash Handley – 4
16 Derrell Olpherts – 6
6 Blake Austin – 6
7 Aidan Sezer – 4
15 Sam Lisone – 5
9 Kruise Leeming – 4
18 Tom Holroyd – 4
12 Rhyse Martin – 4
20 Morgan Gannon – 5
10 Zane Tetevano – 4
14 Jarrod O’Connor – 4
17 Justin Sangare – 6
25 James Donaldson – 4
13 Cameron Smith – 5

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