Stefan Ratchford relished early return in semi-final

Stefan Ratchford
Stefan Ratchford

Stefan Ratchford jumped at the chance to fast-track his comeback from injury to help Warrington get back to Wembley.

The England international was called into the Wolves semi-final line-up just 24 hours before kick-off at Bolton but went on to play a key role in their 22-14 win over Hull which sets up a first major final clash with arch rivals St Helens on August 24.

Ratchford tore a pectoral muscle in his team's Super League defeat by Hull in May and expected to be out for another fortnight until selection matters took a sudden turn on the eve of Saturday's match.

When Josh Charnley picked up a minor knee injury in training, coach Steve Price came up with the idea of switching full-back replacement Jake Mamo onto the wing and Ratchford readily answered the call.

"I'd been kind of saying I was ready but I was probably pushing my luck a bit and I thought I'd have to wait another week or two," he said.

"But when we lost Charners, the coach asked me if I was ready to go and he was happy to go with what I was saying. All the medical staff were happy as well so we decided to get out there.

"They said 12 to 16 weeks and it's nine weeks and three days since the op so ideally we would have waited another week or two but it all kind of fell into place. I was more than ready to go."

Ratchford slotted effortlessly back into his role and also took on the goalkicking duties, converting three of the Wolves' four tries as they saw off the challenge of the Black and Whites.

"I was fine out there," he added. "The conditioning staff are really good and I've followed the protocol for five or six weeks.

"I've been doing a bit more each week and this past week we ramped it right up and there's probably not much more I could have done to prep myself.

"I didn't feel it once during the game. I wanted to get a touch or a tackle as early as possible.

"I was happy to be just out there. It's been a frustrating eight or nine weeks."

Warrington had lost their two previous league games but, with Ratchford's assistance, turned around their form to give themselves the chance to avenge last year's shock Wembley defeat by Catalans Dragons.

"One of the things we've been disappointed with the last couple of weeks was the way we've defended and, although we actually conceded a few breaks and half-breaks, I thought the way we scrambled and got back in numbers was really good," Ratchford said.

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Don't miss the latest Value Bet preview for York1

Value Bet: Wafy wager

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for day two of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York.

Action from day two of the Ebor Festival2

Ebor Festival Live Blog

Our racing team of David Ord, Ben Linfoot and Richard Mann bring you the latest from York on day two of the Ebor Festival.

Check out the latest daily racing preview
3

Thursday's racing preview

Enable should enjoy a lap of honour at York on Thursday, according to Anita Chambers - she has a tip for every race at every meeting.

Oli Bell looks ahead to the action on the Knavesmire4

Oli Bell's Best Bets: Worth a Wej'

Oli Bell snared a couple of Wednesday winners and fancies five horses at York on Thursday, including Wejdan for William Haggas.

The latest football gossip and transfer rumours5

Paper Talk: Super Sancho

Manchester United are making Jadon Sancho a top January transfer target, according to Thursday's back pages.

Most Read

Don't miss the latest Value Bet preview for York1

Value Bet: Wafy wager

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for day two of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York.

Action from day two of the Ebor Festival2

Ebor Festival Live Blog

Our racing team of David Ord, Ben Linfoot and Richard Mann bring you the latest from York on day two of the Ebor Festival.

Check out the latest daily racing preview
3

Thursday's racing preview

Enable should enjoy a lap of honour at York on Thursday, according to Anita Chambers - she has a tip for every race at every meeting.

Oli Bell looks ahead to the action on the Knavesmire4

Oli Bell's Best Bets: Worth a Wej'

Oli Bell snared a couple of Wednesday winners and fancies five horses at York on Thursday, including Wejdan for William Haggas.

The latest football gossip and transfer rumours5

Paper Talk: Super Sancho

Manchester United are making Jadon Sancho a top January transfer target, according to Thursday's back pages.

Racing Tips

Don't miss the latest Value Bet preview for York

Value Bet: Wafy wager

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has three Value Bet selections for day two of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York.

Oli Bell looks ahead to the action on the Knavesmire

Oli Bell's Best Bets: Worth a Wej'

Oli Bell snared a couple of Wednesday winners and fancies five horses at York on Thursday, including Wejdan for William Haggas.

Simon Holt picks out his best bets for York

Simon Holt: A good Story

What's The Story can add to his good record at York on Thursday, according to Simon Holt - check out his two best bets.

Next Race Off

14:50 Chepstow
2
(2)
Bounty Pursuit
J: Marco Ghiani
7
(6)
Papa Delta
J: George Downing
10
(7)
Master Poet
J: Hector Crouch

Football Tips

Our best bets and match previews for the latest Sky Bet EFL action

Sky Bet EFL: Weekend preview

With a winner in midweek, Tom Carnduff is hoping for more success as he picks out three best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action.

Raheen House

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in August 2019.

All of Sporting Life's current best bets across a range of sports

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.