WaRRINGTON Wolves crushed Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 56-12 to book a Wembley date with Hull FC next month.
A shock seemed possible in the early moments of the ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final at Leigh Sports Village as Wakefield went ahead and then rocked Warrington with some strong and enthusiastic defence on their own line.
But weight of pressure eventually told and once Warrington got on the front foot Wakefield lacked the power or experience to turn the tide.
Warrington scored four first half tries to lead 24-6 at the interval and the second half was even more one-sided as Trinity conceded six more.
“We tried hard all game,” Wakefield coach Chris Chester said afterwards.
“It wasn’t effort that beat us, but Warrington were far too good for us.
“They were too quick and once they get a roll on they are very hard to stop.
“We weren’t great, but they never gave in and I am a proud coach.”
It was always going to be a tall order for a patched up Wakefield side missing eight front-line players through injury, but they made a confident start and deservedly scored first.
Stefan Ratchford’s error gave Wakefield a scrum deep in Warrington territory and from it Liam Finn supplied Jacob Miller and his pass picked out an unmarked Craig Hall, who had a walk-in at the corner.
Finn landed a magnificent touchline conversion and Wildcats led until the 15th minute when man of the match Jack Hughes powered over.
Video official Phil Bentham confirmed referee Gareth Hewer’s original decision of try and Kurt Gidley added the extras before booting a penalty moments later, following Scott Moore’s second effort on Hughes.
On 23 minutes Daryl Clark nipped through a huge gap for a soft try from acting-half and Warrington struck again moments later when Rhys Evans crossed off Hughes’ long pass.
Gidley converted Clark’s try, but Wakefield missed a huge opportunity on the half hour. Moore’s pass sent Jason Walton galloping into space with two players in support, but he went himself and was tackled.
In the final minute of the half David Fifita could not take Moore’s pass near the Trinity line and following the scrum Gidley held off the defence to score a try which he converted after Bentham had given the green light.
Matty Russell spilled the ball trying to touch down at the start of the second half – Bentham confirming Hewer’s original decision of no try – but that only delayed the inevitable.
Just six minutes after the break Ryan Atkins, playing against his former club, provided a superb offload to send Chris Sandow in and the centre was involved in the next set when Ratchford crossed from Russell’s final pass.
Trinity were reduced to 12 men for a spell soon after that, when Fifita was sin-binned for a high tackle on Sandown.
In the first half referee Hewer had been more lenient, awarding only a penalty following Clark’s off-the-ball foul on Miller.
Moore was held up over Warrington line, but then Russell intercepted Anthony Tupou’s pass and though Ben Jones-Bishop ran him down, Ben Currie went over on the next play and Gidley’s conversion made it 40-6.
Toby King was next to score, from Brad Dwyer’s kick, Gidley landing his seventh goal and then being taken off along with Sandow.
Ratchford took over the kicking and landed the extras when Ben Westwood became Warrington’s ninth different try scorer, with 13 minutes left.
Wakefield were outclassed, but they refused to throw in the towel and grabbed a consolation try with 13 minutes left.
Hall made a break and hurled a pass infield. Miller could not pick up, but young full-back Max Jowitt did, rolling over Ratchford to get the ball down.
Bentham confirmed the try and Finn added the extras. Six minutes later Hall broke down the left again, kicked over the defence, regathered and stretched over, but Hewer said no try and Bentham ruled it out for a double-movement.
Warrington completed the scoring in the final minute when Toby King crossed for his second.
Warrington coach Tony Smith said: “It was a good performance, all round.
“I thought we started fairly strong and looked like we were going to execute our game plan pretty well and then we had a blip - a dropped ball and they scored.
“But I didn’t think it was enough, at that stage of the game, to throw us too far out of our stride and it didn’t. We got straight back into it and we pretty much dominated the middle part of the field.”