Warrington 22 Leeds 12: Hicks at the double to cut down Rhinos

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The Independent Online

Three tries early in the second half, two of them from their Australian full-back, Chris Hicks, gave Warrington victory and denied Leeds a move back to the top of Super League. Hicks got on the end of some attacking rugby as the Wolves took control after a dour first half at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Already depleted, and possibly depressed, by last weekend's Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to St Helens, Leeds also had the novel experience of being without their leading try-scorer, Scott Donald, who was missing his first match in three years with the club for the birth of his child.

Warrington should have taken the lead when Donald's replacement, Ben Jones-Bishop, was penalised for interfering, but Hicks missed a penalty he would normally have landed without fuss. That was a hint of how hard points were going to be to come by. The closest Leeds came was when Keith Senior bounced over the line from Rob Burrow's pass, but the centre was rightfully penalised for a double-movement.

Ali Lauititti was placed on report for catching Ben Westwood with an elbow and from that penalty Kevin Penny fumbled Lee Briers' cross-field kick. Still the scoreboard remained blank. Finally, just after the half hour, Ben Harrison lost the ball in midfield, Leeds sensed their chance and Kylie Leuluai just managed to stretch over the line, with Kevin Sinfield adding the goal.

Matt King and Paul Rauhihi were both held up over the line as the Wolves strove to respond quickly. A minute before half time, they did so when Lee Mitchell broke through from Michael Monaghan's pass. He found Hicks in support and King finished the move.

Warrington took the lead five minutes into the second half with the most wonderfully offbeat of tries, Adrian Morley taking a pass from Briers and going on the most twinkle-toed run of his entire career to set up Jon Clarke.

Five minutes later, Monaghan and King linked up for Hicks to come into the line and score his side's third try.

The Wolves were in full cry now and after 57 minutes Hicks chimed in yet again, this time to take Martin Gleeson's pass and go into the vacant corner. Mitchell capped an eye-catching performance for a young forward by going 50 metres for a spectacular solo effort that summed up the difference between the two sides in the second half, even though Leeds got one back late on, through Leuluai.

Warrington: Hicks; Riley, Gleeson, King, Penny; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, Anderson, Westwood, Grix. Substitutes used: Mitchell, Parker, Cooper, Harrison.

Leeds: Tansey; Smith, Abblet, Senior, Jones-Bishop; McGuire, Burrow; Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Ellis, Kirke, Sinfield Substitutes used: Scruton, Lauitiiti, Worrall, Anselme.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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