Monaghan doubtful for semi-final

Michael Monaghan, pictured being tackled by Bradford's Jay Pitts, suffered an injury in Warrington's semi-final win

Michael Monaghan, pictured being tackled by Bradford's Jay Pitts, suffered an injury in Warrington's semi-final win

First published in National Sport News © by

Warrington captain Michael Monaghan could be struggling to play in his side's Tetley's Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds in August after tearing a calf muscle in their 46-10 quarter-final win over Bradford.

Monaghan, who is retiring at the end of the season, sustained the injury in his second spell towards the end of Sunday's comfortable eight-try success at Odsal.

"That's put a little bit of a dampener on it," Wolves coach Tony Smith said. "It's taken the edge off it for me. It felt a little bit flat at the end.

"I'm gutted for Michael in the short-term because he's playing absolutely fantastic rugby league. We'll see what sort of lay-off it is, hopefully it's not that long.

"We'll deal with it. We've got capable hookers in Micky Higham and Brad Dwyer, who is waiting in the wings and always does a good job when called upon."

Warrington led only 18-10 after 45 minutes but were always in control and cut loose in the final quarter, with scrum-half Richie Myler scoring his second try and centre Joel Monaghan also touching down twice.

"In terms of performance, it was pleasing," Smith said. "I thought we did a good job in the first half considering it was one of slowest halves I've watched for a long time.

"We had to speed the game up if we were to win that game and I think we did that in the second half. We felt we'd get some opportunities if we were a bit smarter and a bit faster with the ball.

"I thought defensively we were very good."

Smith switched the versatile Stefan Ratchford to loose forward to accommodate the return of Myler and he was delighted with the outcome.

"Richie is finding his way back in the team," Smith said. "He did some good things. I thought Stefan Ratchford was outstanding with 41 tackles and a lot of dummy-half runs. I thought they were all pretty solid and worked hard for each other.

"They're stringing some victories together as well as performances. I'm pleased with the progress and the way they're going about it. I think we're playing some attractive rugby league amongst it."

Tries from wingers Elliot Kear and Luke George briefly gave Bradford hope but coach Francis Cummins admitted they were rarely in the hunt.

"Warrington played well but we produced a lot of yardage error," Cummins said. "We had a lot of energy in the first half but came up with some simple errors and compounded them, which caught up with us in the second half.

"In warm conditions, if you are allowing the opposition repeat sets and field position, you are having to work twice as hard."

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