Super League: Warrington beat Catalans Dragons 34-4 to solidify second

Warrington's Daryl Clark is tackled by Catalans Dragons' Sam Tomkins
Warrington's Daryl Clark is tackled by Catalans Dragons' Sam Tomkins

Hooker Daryl Clark helped Warrington to a 34-4 Betfred Super League victory over Catalans Dragons.

Clark scored a fine individual first-half try and then created another for half-back Blake Austin - his 18th of the season - to turn the game Warrington's way.

Bryson Goodwin, Sitaleki Akauola and Josh Charnley claimed Warrington's other tries with Dec Patton landing seven goals from as many attempts.

There was plenty of effort from the Dragons but they have now yet to taste victory in their last 11 visits to Warrington and had just a Fouad Yaha try in the first half to show for their efforts.

The victory saw the second-placed Wolves open up a six-point gap over the third-placed Dragons and close the gap on leaders St Helens to four before they take on London Broncos on Sunday.

Warrington were forced into a reshuffle in the backs with Tom Lineham and Jake Mamo both suspended and Ryan Atkins and Stefan Ratchford out injured, which meant a full debut for 17-year-old Josh Thewlis at full-back while Jack Johnson came in on the wing in two changes from the side that won at Hull KR in the Challenge Cup.

Catalans made five changes from the side that lost 51-8 at Hull FC with Arthur Romano, Mickael Simon, Lambert Belmas, Benjamin Jullien and Matty Smith coming in for Brayden Wiliame, Lewis Tierney, Remi Casty, Kenny Edwards and Alrix Da Costa.

The opening exchanges were ferocious, with some hard-hitting defence from both sides, and Thewlis did well to stand firm as the Dragons targeted him with some early high kicks.

It was the visitors who manged to break the deadlock on 17 minutes when Tony Gigot's long pass allowed Yaha to squeeze over in the left-hand corner, with the score confirmed by the video referee.

Catalans were good value for their four-point advantage as they went toe to toe with the Wolves but the whole complexion of the game changed as Warrington struck with two tries in the final nine minutes of the half.

Firstly there was a fine solo score from Clark, who scooted clear from 30 metres out and evaded the clutches of four Catalans defenders to touch down.

Then two minutes before half-time Clark turned provider as his drop-off pass to Austin saw the Australian blast through the Catalans cover for his 18th try of the season.

Patton was on target with both conversions to give Warrington a 12-4 advantage at half-time, and added an early second-half penalty.

The game once again became a real forwards battle until two tries in five minutes just past the hour mark broke the Catalans' resistance and made the game safe for the home side.

Firstly, Goodwin blasted his way through from 30 metres out and then Akauola managed to touch down despite the attentions of three Catalans defenders. Patton maintained his 100 per cent record with the boot to stretch the lead to 26-4.

Warrington completed the win when Charnley touched down his own kick after Gigot fumbled the ball over the line five minutes from time. Patton again goaled and kicked a last-minute penalty to make it seven out of seven.

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