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Wolves still in the hunt
Re-match with St Helens in prospect next weekend
Warrington kept their Super League Grand Final hopes alive with a 24-12 victory over Hull FC at the Halliwell Jones stadium.
The Wolves were beaten at home by St Helens in the first round of the play-offs last week, meaning they were denied a week off and had to beat Hull to reach the semi-finals.
But Warrington have never suffered consecutive home defeats under head coach Tony Smith and that rarely looked like happening against the Black and Whites, after Trent Waterhouse put the hosts into an early lead.
Despite scoring two late tries, Hull struggled throughout to threaten the Wolves try-line and this was ultimately a comfortable victory for the regular season runners-up.
In all likelihood Warrington - who have won just three of 11 play-off games in Super League - will have to face St Helens again next weekend for a place at Old Trafford.
There was a sign of things to come when Hull full-back Richard Horne spilled one of Lee Briers' towering kicks five minutes into the match and, when centre Jordan Turner failed to diffuse another high kick on 13 minutes, second rower 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 Brett 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.
Hull's best chance came four minutes into the second half when England winger Tom Briscoe collected Brett Seymour's kick to the corner before offloading to Aaron Heremaia but he was easily bundled into touch.
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.
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.
Richie 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 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.
Warrington do not know their semi-final opponents yet, but assuming Wigan choose to host fifth-places Leeds in Sunday's 'clubcall', the Wolves will be at Langtree Park next Saturday night.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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