Wolves turn attention to Super League
With the Carnegie Challenge Cup safely locked away once more in the trophy cabinet, Warrington Wolves will today turn their thoughts towards completing an elusive double.
The Wolves demolished Leeds Rhinos 35-18 at Wembley on Saturday to lift the famous silverware for the third time in four years and will now focus on their efforts to reach a maiden Grand Final.
Tony Smith’s men, who have a woeful Stobart Super League play-off record, have two matches left of the regular season before embarking on a run they hope will take them all the way to Old Trafford on October 6.
Warrington full-back Brett Hodgson, man of the match at Wembley, believes his team are capable of matching the feat of St Helens, who were the last team to complete the double in 2008.
“We’ll go away and assess this and try and prepare well for the next couple of weeks leading into the semis,” said Hodgson.
“We fell at that hurdle last year and it will be something we’ll have to look at.
“We’ve a full squad at the moment. Some good quality players missed out today so that bodes well for the rest of the season.”
Hodgson, who was in the Huddersfield Giants side that lost to Warrington in the 2009 final, was a landslide winner of the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match.
He was briefly knocked out in a tackle by Leeds prop Kylie Leuluai early in the second half but recovered to supply the final passes for crucial tries by Ryan Atkins and Chris Riley before scoring the last of his side’s six tries and kicking a fifth conversion.
Hodgson became only the fourth Australian to win the prestigious Lance Todd Trophy but played down his heroics.
“I’ve got to be grateful to the guys that are in front of me,” he said. “I play in a position where if our forwards aren’t excelling and dominating the other pack, then my game’s very tough.
“It’s very humbling to get the award, especially with the enormous calibre of player who have received it before me. It’s something I will definitely look back on.
“But personal accolades come second to winning trophies. I was very honoured to take out one of the titles in the NRL and this is definitely up there.”
Warrington’s elation was in sharp contrast to the desolation felt by the Leeds players who experienced Wembley heartache for a third consecutive year.
“It doesn’t get any better,” admitted Rob Burrow, who has five losers’ medals but is hoping the Rhinos can emulate last year’s achievement in bouncing back to win the Grand Final.
“You get to play at this great stadium and all we’ve experienced is the negative side of it.
“It’s a bit like last year. All we’ve got now is the Grand Final to hopefully get to.
“We’ve got to knuckle down straight away next Friday. We’ve got Salford at home. It’s a big game and it’s all we’re focused on.”