We begin our look back at classic Challenge Cup semi-final moments with the 2010 battering of Catalans Dragons.
Although Wire were the reigning cup holders and having had a quite sparkling season in the league, we went into the game expecting a close encounter, not least because we had lost by a point in Perpignan a fortnight before the semi-final.
But it was different story when the sides clashed at Widnes.
In the interests of neutrality, Warrington couldn’t play at the HJ, though we might as well have been. At least 99% of the 12,000 crowd at Naughton Park – fuck knows what it’s called now, let alone back then – had made the short trip to t’other side of Penketh. The Dragons had travelled all the way from the south of France and we didn’t even need to leave the WA postcode. But at least there was a big crowd in for the cameras.
Louis Anderson scored a hat trick against his future employees as Tony Smith’s men romped to a second successive Cup success.
The big kiwi was joined on the score sheet by Ben Harrison, Matt King, Chris Riley, Richie Myler, Jon Clarke and Lee Briers, who gave an absolute masterclass from stand off.
We scored two tries in the first 12 minutes and there was no looking back as the sun literally shone on the Wire that day.
Ben Harrison crashed over after five minutes before Ryan Atkins knocked back Lee Briers’ high kick to gift Anderson the first of his three tries.
Matt King extended Warrington’s lead before Chris Hicks collected Briers’ kick and turned the ball back inside to Mick Monas who found Chris Riley on the opposite wing with another pinpoint kick to touch down.
Clint Greenshields crossed over to give the Dragons a glimmer of hope before the break, but when the teams returned, Lee Briers jinked through the line before reaching out to score.
Richie Myler – dropped to the bench for this game – was introduced on the hour mark and had an immediate effect. His blindside run initially opening up the space for Mick Monaghan to poke through a grubber kick from dummy half for Louis Anderson to score again.
Wire were running rampant by now and crossed for another two tries in as many minutes, with Briers breaking through again to release Myler to get in on the scoring before David Solomona delved into his bag of tricks and slipped an eye-catching offload to Louis Anderson who raced 70 metres to complete his hat-trick.
Jon Clarke marked his comeback from injury by completing the rout with 11 minutes left. There was just enough to time for Catalans to get over for another consolation try, but Wire fans were already arranging transport to Wembley by then.
The Wire team that day was:
Mathers, Hicks, King, Atkins, Riley, Briers, Monaghan, Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison.
Subs: Myler, Wood, Solomona, V Anderson.