Johns proves powerless as Hull show true knock-out form

Warrington 6

Hull 40

It was hardly Johns' fault: the Australian scrum-half tried everything in his vast repertoire on Saturday night; though, like a few others, he was sometimes guilty of trying a little too hard. Warrington were back to their bad old ways.

They created the chances to win this elimination playoff in the first quarter but could not get their timing or their handling quite right.

"Play-off games are all about taking your opportunities, and we haven't done that," their coach, Paul Cullen, admitted. "To have been through the Hull line as often as we have and not come up with many scores takes the game beyond you."

Hull deserved credit for their defence and their opportunism when their chances came. Nathan Blacklock gave a lesson in clinical finishing with a first-half hat-trick of tries.

"If Nathan Blacklock has half a chance of crossing the whitewash, there's no way he's hitting the floor, because he loves scoring tries,'' his coach, John Kear, said.

It was also a determined tackling effort from Hull, on a par with the ones that accounted for St Helens and Leeds in the Challenge Cup, in which the likes of Stephen Kearney and Richard Swain stood out.

Kirk Yeaman also deserves a special mention for the way he snuffed out the threat of Martin Gleeson and was still on-hand to make and score tries near the end.

As for Warrington, it was, at the end of an exciting season, what Cullen called: "Time to reflect on what extra we need.''

More composure in pressurised situations would be top of the shopping list, but the club has no regrets about going out on a limb to bring in Johns this time.

"He was worth every penny and every ounce of effort that it took to bring him here," Cullen said. "There are no guarantees in sport."

Warrington: Grose; Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Bridge; Briers, Johns; Leikvoll, N Wood, P Wood, Swann, Moone, Clarke. Substitutes used: Mark Gleeson, Westwood, Hilton, Lima.

Hull: Saxton; Blacklock, Yeaman, Whiting, Raynor; Horne, Brough; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, McMenemy, Kearney, Cooke. Substitutes used: Tony, King, Thackray, Chester.

Referee: A Klein (London).