16 hours ago
Hull send Wolves packing
Hull?s Kangaroo winger Nathan Blacklock dashed the Super League Grand final hopes of his fellow countryman Andrew Johns of Warrington, who heads home to Australia with dreams of glory unfulfilled after going down to the Yorkshire side by 40-6.
Man-of-the-match Blacklock?s first-half hat-trick of tries set up the Challenge Cup winners? emphatic victory in the second elimination play-off at the Halliwell Jones Stadium which keeps alive their double hopes.
John Kear?s knockout specialists will now take on Bradford in next Saturday?s elimination semi-final, while Johns is expected to play for Australia in the opening Gillette Tri-Nations clash with New Zealand in Sydney on October 15.
Hull?s remarkable success came just eight days after they went down 30-16 to the Wolves in the last game of the regular season, and the turnaround in fortunes was down to a magnificent defence which repelled wave after wave of a Johns-inspired attack.
Johns scored Warrington?s only try - his first of a short-term spell restricted to just three appearances - but it was too little, too late.
They had two early tries disallowed, while Blacklock grabbed a first-half hat-trick to virtually put the game beyond the home side.
Blacklock?s first try came firmly against the run of play, with centre Richard Whiting setting up the position with a break out of defence and providing the final pass after neat work from Paul Cooke and Stephen Kearney.
The fact Whiting appeared to be offside when he intercepted Nat Wood?s pass 10 metres out from his own line was ample illustration that little was going to go Warrington?s way.
They dominated possession and field position and created a series of half-chances, but handling let them down at crucial times. Even Johns was not immune to their catalogue of errors.
Scrum-half Danny Brough missed the conversion but made amends with a penalty after Warrington prop Mark Hilton was punished for obstructing full-back Tom Saxton.
Blacklock?s other tries were both gifts as the Wolves continued to force the passes and fumble the ball at crucial times.
The former St George flier pounced when his opposite number Chris Bridge dropped Richard Horne?s high kick and then raced 50 metres unopposed after Johns? pass to Paul Noone went to ground.
Brough took his goal tally to three from four and it could have been worse for the Wolves, with centre Kirk Yeaman, back from two-match suspension, having a try disallowed for a forward pass.
But Warrington had their moments too, with Bridge and fellow winger Henry Fa?afili both having tries ruled out by the video referee for touching the whitewash.
It was a similar story in the second half, with Warrington pounding their opponents? line but Hull defending heroically.
At one time Hull were forced to defend three successive sets of six tackles but the thin blue line held.
It was only when Hull were down to 12 men, following the 55th-minute sin-binning of stand-off Horne for a professional foul, that Warrington managed to finally breach their otherwise watertight defence.
Inevitably it was Johns who did the damage, tearing himself out of tackles to force his way over after 62 minutes and his conversion brought Warrington back to 18-6.
But Hull put the issue beyond doubt with four further tries in the last 12 minutes as Warrington crumbled.
Yeaman, who marshalled Great Britain centre Gleeson superbly, was put through a gap by Cooke?s pinpoint pass and sent substitute Chris Chester over.
He then dummied his way over himself while Whiting and winger Gareth Raynor also grabbed tries and Brough took his goal tally to six from eight attempts to give the visitors a flattering margin of victory.
Warrington: Grose, Fa?afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Bridge, Briers, Johns, Leikvoll, N. Wood, P. Wood, Swann, Noone, Clarke.
Replacements: Mark Gleeson, Westwood, Hilton, Lima.
Hull: Saxton, Blacklock, Yeaman, Whiting, Raynor, R. Horne, Brough, Dowes, Swain, Carvell, McMenemy, Kearney, Cooke.
Replacements: Tony, King, Thackray, Chester.
Warrington (0) 6. Tries: Johns. Goals: Johns.
Hull (18) 40. Tries: Blacklock 3, Chester, Yeaman, Whiting, Raynor. Goals: Brough 6.
Referee: Ashley Klein (London)