Super League: Warrington Wolves 34-4 Catalans Dragons
|Betfred Super League|
|Warrington (12) 34|
|Tries: Clark, Austin, Goodwin, Akauola, Charnley Goals: Patton 7|
|Catalans Dragons (4) 4|
Second-placed Warrington closed the gap on Super League leaders St Helens with a 34-4 win over third-placed Catalans Dragons at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Fouad Yaha scored in the corner to give the Dragons the lead, but Daryl Clark's sensational solo try and Blake Austin's score put the Wire ahead at half-time.
Declan Patton's penalty extended the lead soon after the restart before Bryson Goodwin got a third Wolves try.
Sitaleki Akauola and Josh Charnley went over to seal a comfortable win.
Warrington are now four points behind Saints and six clear of their opponents, who remain third.
The win ended Warrington's two-game losing streak against the Dragons, which went back to last season's Challenge Cup final loss at Wembley.
Catalans impressed in the opening half-hour of the encounter as Yaha got on the end of Matty Smith's excellent pass, Charnley had to touch down to stop a second Dragons try and Samisoni Langi knocked on with a chance to go over.
But the Wolves fought back in the final 10 minutes of the half as Clark burst through a hole in the Dragons' defence to go in from 40 metres and Austin darted in after a big hand-off on Tony Gigot.
The hosts took control after the break, but it was not until just after the hour that they breached the Dragons defence again.
Seventeen-year-old debutant Josh Thewlis setting up the field position with a lovely run which first saw Charnley held up just short by Yaha's tackle, but Goodwin's lovely sidestep saw him go over in the opposite corner with the next play.
Dragons capitulated towards the end as Akauola powered his way over as three Dragons players failed to hold him up from close range before Charnley managed to dot down his own kick after Smith missed the bouncing ball as he tried to touch it down to safety.
Warrington head coach Steve Price:
"I was really pleased with the result. It was an important win because a top two finish is what we're striving for.
"But there's a lot of rugby to be played yet so we will keep grounded and working hard and keep chipping away.
"Catalans are a team who try and jump you early and I thought we accommodated that really well and to go in at 12-4 at half time I was really pleased with the process.
"We then went on to score some excellent tries in the second half."
Catalans head coach Steve McNamara:
"It feels like we've been on a tour of Europe over the last three or four weeks and it will be good to get back to France and have some stability and refocus and get ready to go again.
"It is what it is, we got an away draw in the cup, we took a game to Barcelona and we've had Magic so we have had lots of things to contend with.
"The travelling does take it's toll. For example last week after Hull we had to drive to Gatwick to get to Barcelona to then go on to Perpignan.
"That's why this club is different, you have other challenges that other clubs don't and we have dealt with them well so far this season apart from the last two weeks.
"But we understand where we are at and what we need to improve on. Our second half performances in our last two games haven't been good enough."
Warrington: Thewlis, Johnson, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Philbin.
Interchanges: Murdoch-Masila, J. Clark, Akauola, Davis.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot, Romano, Mead, Langi, Yaha, Tomkins, Smith, Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Whitley, Garcia, Bousquet.
Interchanges: Jullien, Belmas, Baitieri, Kasiano.
Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL)