Opposition Profile: Warrington Wolves

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 06/02/2020 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Warrington Wolves v St Helens - Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, England - Warrington get in a huddle to celebrate after victory over St Helens.

Leeds travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Tuesday night to take on top four rivals Warrington Wolves in the Betfred Super League, kick off 7:45pm live on Sky Sports.

Take a look at Steve Price’s side here:


Overview

Steve Price looked lost for words when his side left the field at Emerald Headingley last Friday having seen Warrington suffer a late 18-14 defeat to rivals Wigan Warriors. Both teams had been knocked out of the Challenge Cup in the semi-finals six earlier, but the ‘home’ side looked confident in the first half, Chris Hill and a Matty Ashton penalty try giving the Wolves a 12-6 lead. Warrington lost the arm wrestle in the second 40 minutes though as Liam Farrell’s try on 75 minutes ended any chance of a comeback and pushing Warrington out of the top four.

It has only been a ‘restart revival’ that got the Wolves into Play Off contention. Back in January, Warrington only had three wins; responding to an opening round defeat to Wigan by thrashing the reigning Champions St Helens 19-0 on home soil (England internationals Daryl Clark and Josh Charnley and England Knights representative Tom Lineham scoring the tries), and beating Castleford and Hull FC before the league was postponed.

Richard Agar’s side nilled the Wolves at Emerald Headingley prior to lockdown

Coming back to action five months later, Warrington looked a team with confidence, brushing aside the likes of Huddersfield, Catalans, Castleford and St Helens again in the first month to move into the Play Off spots but have since lost their next three in all competitions (Salford twice and Wigan). Price’s side are set to play the Red Devils once more in October and are set for a tough run in should fixtures remain unchanged as Huddersfield, St Helens and Hull KR await in November.


Last Time Out in Super League

The Wolves met Wigan in one of the standout fixtures in round 15 and it proved to be a tough arm wrestle as both vied to retain their Play Off position. Matty Ashton’s penalty try and Chris Hill’s score gave Warrington a good 12-6 lead at the break by a comeback from Adrian Lam’s side, thanks to Zak Hardaker and Liam Farrell, made sure the points went to the men in Cherry and White.


Key Players

TOBY KING

Position: Centre

Age: 24

Will be his 85th Super League appearance on Tuesday night

Leading Super League in offloads (36)

Bio: A threat with either Jake Mamo or Josh Charnley outside of him, the ever present centre Toby King has been making plays for Price’s side all season. He has 36 offloads (the best in Super League) and eight try assists, prompting some pundits to tip him for a place in Shaun Wane’s England squad.

JOSH THEWLIS

Position: Full Back

Community Club: Waterhead Warriors

Won Warrington’s Young Player of the Year in 2019

Called up to the England Academy squad in 2019, scored a try and kicked a goal vs Wales

Bio: Now in his second year as a member of Warrington’s first team, Thewlis looks to be a great find for the future. Picked up from the same community club that produced the likes of Paul Sculthorpe, Kevin Sinfield and Barrie McDermott, he made his first appearance of 2020 in the 20-18 defeat to Salford two weeks ago.


Previous Meetings

At the Halliwell Jones, meetings between Leeds and Warrington tend to be one sided towards the home side.

Warrington won the first ever Super League meeting between the two sides in 1996, Neil Harmon and Phil Hassan scoring Leeds’ only tries in a 36-12 defeat, but the Rhinos would go on to win the next three (23-16 in 1997, 27-14 in 1998 and 28-10 in 1999).

A decade after Leeds won their first win at Wilderspool, the Rhinos claimed their biggest win over Warrington. Tony Smith’s Leeds side were ruthless against the mid-table Wolves; Rob Burrow scoring twice while Keith Senior, Gareth Ellis, Clinton Toopi and Jamie Thackray (pictured below) were among eight different try scorers for the Rhinos.

Leeds’ biggest win over Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium came in 2007 when Tony Smith’s side won 52-10.

One of the most memorable Super League meetings between the two clubs came in the 2011 Play Offs. It was the first time that Leeds played Wolves away for a place in the Grand Final and the match came down to the wire. Carl Ablett and Rob Burrow got over the whitewash for the Rhinos while Ryan Hall crossed for two tries, including an important interception try at the start of the second half. Warrington kept pace with Leeds’ scoring to keep the match tied going into the final minutes when Kevin Sinfield kicked a memorable penalty goal to send the Rhinos to Old Trafford.

Previous Meetings at Halliwell Jones Stadium

Warrington Wolves 26 Leeds Rhinos 6 (SLR1, 02/02/19)

Warrington Wolves 12 Leeds Rhinos 16 (SLR1, 01/02/18)

Warrington Wolves 25 Leeds Rhinos 14 (SLR8, 07/04/17)

Warrington Wolves 52 Leeds Rhinos 18 (SLR16, 27/05/16)

Warrington Wolves 18 Leeds Rhinos 6 (SLR5, 13/03/15)

Warrington Wolves 24 Leeds Rhinos 6 (SLR15, 30/05/14)

Warrington Wolves 40 Leeds Rhinos 20 (Play Offs, 14/09/13)

Warrington Wolves 19 Leeds Rhinos 18 (SLR21, 05/07/13)

Warrington Wolves 37 Leeds Rhinos 18 (SLR17, 08/06/12)

Warrington Wolves 24 Leeds Rhinos 26 (Semi Final, 30/09/11)


Head to Head


Record against the Rhinos

Tuesday’s match will be the 180th time Leeds and Warrington have met in the league since records began. In Super League alone, 57 matches have been played between the two sides previously at both Emerald Headingley and the Halliwell Jones, the most recent being Leeds’ 36-0 result in February.

Warrington have won 21 games against the Rhinos since Super League began in 1996; 15 of which have come on home soil. Between 2011 and 2017 in particular, Warrington didn’t lose a regular season match against Leeds at the Halliwell Jones, winning seven times. One of the most memorable clashes during that period came in 2013 when a last minute Lee Briers drop goal edged the Wolves to a 19-18 result.

The last time Leeds won at the Halliwell Jones was in 2018 – their first victory at Warrington for seven years.

Out of 85 matches played at Warrington, Leeds have only won 27 times. Leeds’ recent win at the Halliwell Jones came in 2018, thanks to two tries from Ryan Hall, but before that, the Rhinos were last victorious on the road in the 2011 Play Offs.

Between 2002 and 2005, the Rhinos held a four match winning streak at the home of the Wolves,


Team News


Last Game Against the Rhinos at Halliwell Jones

Konrad Hurrell, Tui Lolohea, Trent Merrin and James Donaldson were all on debut for the Rhinos when Leeds met Warrington at the start of the 2019 season but it was the Wolves’ star signing Blake Austin that stole the headlines as the home side won 26-6. Austin, Daryl Clark, Josh Charnley and Stefan Ratchford were the try scorers for Warrington on the night, while Stevie Ward’s 76th minute try was Leeds only points.