Imperious Warrington retain their grip on top spot

Leeds 6 Warrington 42
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The Independent Online

On the day that Leeds celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first-ever Championship win, they lost further ground in this year's table to the side setting the current benchmark.

The Rhinos did not quite disgrace themselves in front of the Headingley legends, like Lewis Jones and Ken Thornett, who were paraded at half-time, but they never seriously threatened to loosen Warrington's grip on top spot.

And while they felt aggrieved at some of James Child's refereeing decisions, the plain fact was that Leeds were good enough. After a messy start, with both sides frittering away possession too easily, Warrington – helped by a hefty penalty count in their favour – showed the attacking flair that has made them by far Super League's leading scorers.

Lee Briers started and finished the sweeping move that put them ahead, although Joel Monaghan's final pass looked forward. There was no argument about the second try, though, scored by Monaghan from Richie Myler's pass.

At that stage Leeds looked in danger of being swept away, but they grafted their way back. The trouble was that whenever they got near the try-line they collided with the Wolves' stout defence.

Warrington had not conceded a point in three games and they clung to that record when Rhys Williams' tackle forced Zak Hardaker's foot on to the touchline when he threatened to cross. The Rhinos finally got their score when Danny Buderus went over from dummy half for the first points against Warrington for 277 minutes.

The Wolves pulled clear from 12-6 after the break with Michael Monaghan's elusive cross-field run and David Solomona's try. Brett Hodgson's third conversion was followed by a penalty after Jamie Jones-Buchanan tangled with Adrian Morley.

Myler then produced a pass to put Chris Bridge over. Michael Monaghan and Matt King followed as the Leeds defence sprung a leak. The final try saw King kicking ahead for Briers' second.

The harsh lesson on where Leeds stand in the pecking order was not lost on their coach, Brian McDermott. "When we've played some of the big teams we haven't come up with the goods," he said. "Our ball control was poor and our discipline was poor."

The only worry for Tony Smith was a knee injury to Joel Monaghan. "We're in great form at the moment," he said.

Leeds: Smith; Hardaker, Delaney, Ablett, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Hauraki.

Subs used: Kirke, Burrow, Pitts, Bailey.

Warrington: Hodgson; Williams, Bridge, Atkins, J Monaghan; Briers, Myler; Morley, M Monaghan, Carvell, King, Westwood, Grix.

Subs used: Solomona, Cooper, Higham, Wood.

Referee: J Child (Dewsbury).