Warrington beat Huddersfield to clinch play-off spot

Warrington beat Huddersfield to clinch play-off spot

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Stefan Ratchford in action for Warrington
Warrington centre Stefan Ratchford was perfect with the boot in his side’s win at Huddersfield, which clinched a Super League play-off place
Huddersfield (4) 8
Tries: McQueen, Pryce
Warrington (12) 20
Tries: Dufty, Harrison Goals: Ratchford 6

Warrington claimed the sixth and final Super League play-off place with a tense final-day win over Huddersfield.

Wolves will face a trip to St Helens next weekend after early tries from Matt Dufty and James Harrison, and Stefan Ratchford’s impeccable kicking earned them victory in West Yorkshire.

Huddersfield hit back as Chris McQueen and Will Pryce went over.

But Ratchford kicked six goals from six attempts to make sure as Jake Connor missed both Giants conversions.

The match was a microcosm of Warrington’s remarkable season, as they began in lightning fashion to lead by 12 points in as many minutes but ended up losing ground and edging over the finish line unconvincingly.

That mirrored the fact that they won the first eight games of the regular season to set the early pace but then hit a disastrous seven-match losing streak in mid-season before limping over the line with two defeats in their final three league games.

It has hardly been convincing form ahead of a re-match with neighbours Saints, the competition’s in-form team, who won at the Wire’s Halliwell Jones Stadium last week.

Warrington seemed to have rediscovered that early-season form as Dufty made use of great hands from Danny Walker to dash over and then Walker sent Harrison over for a second try, Ratchford adding all of the extras.

Giants had little to play for apart from hoping to give McQueen, Pryce, Jermaine McGillvary and Nathan Peats – all playing their final games for the club – a good send-off.

The stalwart McQueen, who is retiring, burst over for a farewell try just before the break to cast some doubt on the outcome.

Peats’ final game for the club ended painfully as he was forced off for a head injury assessment, along with opponent Joe Philbin.

Ratchford’s boot opened the gap to 10 points but Pryce showed why he is heading for Newcastle Knights with a brilliant try, ghosting past George Williams and Dufty.

Connor’s missed conversion left Wire with some breathing space and as the home side’s discipline fell apart Ratchford eased them to victory with three more penalties.

Warrington interim coach Gary Chambers:

“It’s up to us – bring it on, let’s see how we go.

“When we set out this was where we wanted to be. We’ll prepare and go well next week against St Helens.

“We have to stay in it. St Helens come at you hard, we have to not force it and just stay in the game with them.

“The players have pressure on themselves as they’re professionals and they want to do well.”

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson:

“It’s kind of a new era.

“We can’t keep pushing 36-year-olds around and expect to win a comp. It’s time for the younger guys to step up.

“We have to show a level of consistency… it’s now time for some of the younger players to step forward.”

Huddersfield: Pryce; Halsall, Marsters, Naiqama, McGillvary; Connor, Lolohea; Ikahihifo, Milner, Greenwood, Hewitt, McQueen, Yates.

Interchanges: Peats, Wilson, English, Cudjoe.

Warrington: Dufty; Thewlis, Wrench, Ratchford, Russell; Williams, Drinkwater; Mikaele, Walker, Harrison, Currie, Nicholson, Crowther.

Interchanges: D Clark, Kasiano, Philbin, Bullock.

Referee: Tom Grant.

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