Wolves win at Wembley again
Rhinos lose sixth final since they lifted the trophy back in 1999
By Rob Lancaster - Tweet me: @SkySportsLanny. Last Updated: 25/08/12 6:42pm
Warrington saw off Leeds 35-18 at a rain-soaked Wembley to lift the Carnegie Challenge Cup for the third time in the last four years.
First-half tries from Joel Monaghan and Trent Waterhouse helped the Wolves - who had beaten the same opponents in the 2010 showpiece in the capital - gain a narrow 12-10 lead at the end of the first 40 minutes.
However Tony Smith's side proved to be irresistible after the break, crossing a further four times to blow what had been a closely fought battle wide open.
Kallum Watkins did bag a brace of tries for the Rhinos but it wasn't enough to prevent them from becoming the first team ever to lose three finals in a row.
For Leeds it was another painful defeat for a side who have become cup bridesmaids, though it could have all been so different had they been on the right end of a massive call early on in the second half.
It seemed the reigning Super League champions had taken the lead again when a fearsome hit from Kylie Leuluai knocked the ball out of Brett Hodgson's hands and into the path of Brett Delaney, who had an easy run-in.
However, the video referee ruled that Leuluai had knocked on after making contact with the Warrington full-back, meaning the try was chalked off.
It was to prove the turning point in the contest as Warrington made the most of the reprieve, going on to score three tries in a 10-minute purple patch to give themselves some breathing space.
There had been little to split the two sides at the end of the opening half, the Wolves having broken the deadlock in the sixth minute when a series of offloads allowed Richie Myler to kick perfectly into space on the right wing for Joel Monaghan to catch and finish.
Ian Kirke surged his way over to get Leeds to level shortly before the heavens opened, Kevin Sinfield adding the conversion before a further penalty gave his team the lead.
In testing conditions, Waterhouse crossed on the left for a try that Hodgson couldn't convert, meaning another Sinfield penalty made it a two-point gap.
It seemed the Rhinos had forged their way back in front when Delaney touched down, only for his effort to be ruled out. Warrington responded in emphatic fashion to the let-off, Chris Riley and Ryan Atkins both sliding over in the left corner.
Ben Westwood's offload created the chance for Tyrone McCarthy to get himself a try, with a drop goal from Lee Briers leaving Leeds too much to do.
They kept battling bravely, though Watkins' double only made sure the final scoreline looked respectable as they succumbed to a sixth final defeat since their 1999 triumph over London Broncos.
Hodgson, who knows just what it is like to be on the losing side having played for Huddersfield against Warrington in the 2009 final, completed a fine personal afternoon with a try that he also converted as he became just the fourth Australian to be awarded the Lance Todd Trophy.
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup
Challenge Cup final 2012
Warrington are determined to end their play-off woes following their Challenge Cup triumph over Leeds.
Richie Myler admitted being left out of Warrington's 2010 Challenge Cup win made being part of this year's success all the sweeter.
Warrington coach Tony Smith was full of praise for Lance Todd Trophy winner Brett Hodgson after the Challenge Cup final win over Leeds.
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