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Rugby League

Waterhouse puts Wolves close to promised land

Warrington Wolves 24 Hull 12

The Wolves got their bid to reach Old Trafford for the first time back on track as they throttled the life out of brave Hull's season. Less flamboyant than they can be, Warrington moved to within one match of the Super League Grand Final with a supremely efficient display.

Once they had broken their visitors' initial resistance, they had the touches of class to capitalise, but this was a victory firmly built on committed defence, even though Hull struck a defiant note with two late tries.

After their lacklustre performance against St Helens last week, Warrington were keen to show everyone, not least themselves, that they were a different proposition this weekend.

They fumbled their way through an untidy first 13 minutes, however, before taking the lead.

There was nothing very pretty about the try either. Lee Briers launched a wickedly spiralling bomb, Jordan Turner could not catch it cleanly and Trent Waterhouse, refusing to give up the chase, touched down just before the dead-ball line.

Hull could well have been down to 12 men when Joe Westerman floored the recently arrived substitute, Michael Monaghan, with a high tackle. Referee Richard Silverwood took the soft option by putting him on report, but there could still have been further punishment if Paul Wood had not knocked on near the line on the Wolves' subsequent attack.

It was six minutes from half-time before the score began to reflect their dominance, Briers throwing a pearl of a pass and Richie Myler's angled run doing the rest.

Brett Hodgson added a second comfortable conversion and, if Warrington were frustrated by their restricted chances, they could reflect on the way that their suffocating defence had denied Hull any at all.

There was no sign of that enthusiasm waning after the break and with 53 minutes gone they virtually made sure of progressing.

It was Briers' off-load that created the opening, but Stefan Ratchford's kick off the post and follow-up to touch down was sheer instinct. Likewise Hodgson's finish from Myler's incisive little break a few minutes later. The score was beginning to belie the effort Hull had put in. They deserved Tom Briscoe's try from Brett Seymour's kick 14 minutes from time and Ben Crooks' later score, but they were too far adrift to salvage their season.

The next appointment for Warrington is at the DW Stadium today, where Wigan must decide, under the controversial ClubCall procedure, whether they prefer them or Leeds as their next opponents.

On the evidence of this weekend so far, it is not an easy decision for them to make.

Warrington Hodgson; J.Monaghan, Ratchford, Atkins, Riley; Briers, Myler; Morley, Higham, Hill, Waterhouse, Harrison, Grix. Substitutes used M Monaghan, McCarthy, Cooper, Wood.

Hull Horne, Foster, Turner, Yeaman, Briscoe; Seymour, Heremaia; Watts, Houghton, Lynch, Manu, Westerman, Aspinwall. Substitutes used O'Meley, Crooks, Green, Pitts.

Referee Richard Silverwood (Mirfield).