Wolves move step closer to Grand Final

Salisbury Journal: Brett Hodgson was in sparkling form for Warrington against Hull Brett Hodgson was in sparkling form for Warrington against Hull

Warrington kept alive their hopes of the double with a hard-fought 24-12 Super League play-off victory over Hull that takes them to within 80 minutes of a maiden Grand Final appearance.

Veterans Brett Hodgson and Lee Briers once more led the way as the Challenge Cup winners secured only their third victory in 11 play-off ties to bring Hull's season to an end.

Warrington sorely missed injured England forwards Ben Westwood and Garreth Carvell but still had enough firepower to cruise into a 24-0 lead after an hour before their opponents produced a late rally with two tries of their own.

With Wigan almost certain to choose Leeds as their semi-final opponents in Sunday's Clubcall announcement, Warrington will be handed the chance to avenge last week's home defeat by St Helens, although this time they will have to go to Langtree Park.

There was a sign of things to come when Hull full-back Richard Horne spilled one of Briers' towering kicks five minutes into the match and, when centre Jordan Turner failed to diffuse one of his "bombs" on 13 minutes, second rower Trent Waterhouse was the first to reach the ball to record the opening try.

Briers was also the architect for the Wolves' second try seven minutes before half-time, this time with a perfectly-timed pass that enabled his half-back partner Richie Myler to slice through a gap in the visitors' defence. Full-back Hodgson, another constant threat for the hosts, added both conversions to make it 12-0, which was the least the home side deserved for their first-half dominance.

There was no way back for Hull when centre Stefan Ratchford demonstrated his exceptional talent in scoring the Wolves' third try on 53 minutes. There seemed nothing on when the utility back got the ball 20 metres out but he fended off two defenders before kicking ahead and gathering a ricochet off a post to touch down for an opportunist score.

Hodgson kicked his third goal to make it 18-0 and, with the game effectively gone, Hull produced their best spell of the match. Aaron Heremaia dropped a pass from prop Mark O'Meley with the tryline beckoning and right winger Jamie Foster got over the line only to be recalled for a forward pass.

Myler broke clear to get Hodgson over for his side's fourth try to stretch his side's lead to 24-0 but the Black and Whites struck back when Tom Briscoe raced onto Heremaia's grubber kick to touch down.

Hodgson then had a second try disallowed and Hull had the final say when substitute centre Ben Crooks took Richard Horne's pass to score his side's second try, with Foster kicking his second goal on his final appearance for the club.

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