A superb first half display helped Leeds to a 22-16 win over Warrington and end the Wolves’ winning run.
Off the back of three wins of their own, the Rhinos did the damage in the first half led by the excellent Matt Prior that left the hosts with too much to do, despite a late rally.
From the kick-off Leeds were on top, and that’s how it stayed for much of the opening period. They opened the scoring on eight minutes when Robert Lui contested a high ball with Josh Thewlis and came out the ball and went over under the posts.
Warrington were struggling to get some territory in the game, with a half chance for Tom Lineham down the left going to waste when his pass inside to Danny Walker was forward.
Walker would get the Wolves’ first try though with their first real foray in to the Leeds 10 metre line, the former Widnes hooker stepping back from a play the ball barely a metre out, and then wriggling free of Lui to dummy his way over for 6-6.
But that was the only time Warrington were able to venture in to an attacking for position for virtually the whole first half, and the visitors then turned their pressure in to points.
After a Walker 20/40 attempt bounced out just short of its target, Leeds loaded numbers on the left and Ash Handley got outside Josh Charnley and passed inside for Alex Mellor to score their second try.
Provider turned scorer eight minutes later when again Handley found space out wide, and this time cut inside to finish superbly despite the attention of three Warrington defenders.
A Rhyse Martin penalty, to go with three successful conversions, put them 20-6 in front at half time.
It wasn’t the first time Warrington had found themselves with their backs against the wall at the start of a second half – notably in the cup semi-final defeat to Castleford and the league defeat to Huddersfield – and they came out firing after the break.
But Leeds were able to take a settling penalty through Martin for a high tackle by Thewlis that stretched their lead to 16, and they continued to frustrate the hosts.
Tom Lineham had a try disallowed on 53 minutes, landing just short of the line after a thrilling passage of rugby in the middle, and that was the closest Warrington came until the final 10 minutes.
After Liam Sutcliffe had been sinbinned for a high shot on Thewlis, who had sliced through on the left, Warrington made their numerical advantage pay when Thewlis’ cut out pass sent Charnley sliding over in the corner.
Leeds would be reduced to 11 men with four minutes to play, when Lui saw yellow for interference on Blake Austin as he went close to the line, but time was against them.
They did get within a score, when Charnley claimed a cross field kick converted well by Ratchford, but it left them with just one play after the kick-off to try and find an equalising try and when Daryl Clark put down Austin’s offload off a half-break, it was game over.
Warrington: Thewlis, Lineham, Mamo, King, Charnley, Austin, Ratchford, Hill, Walker, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Davis. Subs: Philbin, Butler, Akauola, Clark.
Leeds: Sutcliffe, L Briscoe, Broadbent, T Briscoe, Handley, Leeming, Lui, Oledzki, Dwyer, Prior, Mellor, Martin, Thompson. Subs: Hurrell, Holroyd, O’Connor, Donaldson.