Warrington GuardianSPIRIT OF '55: Like taking an axe to a tree (From Warrington Guardian)

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SPIRIT OF '55: Like taking an axe to a tree

Warrington Guardian: Albert Naughton lifts the silverware in 1955 on the last occasion Warrington were crowned champions Albert Naughton lifts the silverware in 1955 on the last occasion Warrington were crowned champions

IF you were to ask people to list the qualities required to be a top-class rugby league player, patience and composure would probably come a long way down most people’s list.

Wire’s win at Hull was a classic example of how much a requirement those qualities are in players if you want to be a truly top-class team.

It is even more admirable when the team showing it is behind on the scoreboard.

After an early try from Chris Riley, Hull had hit back to take a 6-4 lead.

Despite a lot of Wire possession, Hull’s defence held firm until around the hour mark.

Warrington easily could’ve got frustrated and looked for miracle plays to get the break through.

Instead they merely kept going with what they were doing, maybe with a little increase in pace of play and purpose.

Like chopping down a tree, if it doesn’t fall after the first few swings of the axe, you don’t start hitting it in several different places, you keep hitting your chosen target until sooner or later the tree can fall with the gentlest of pushes.

A gradual build-up in pressure eventually led to points and when they came, they came in a hurry.

Forcing back-to-back drop outs so often results in a try and it did on this occasion, brilliantly created by Stefan Ratchford’s pin-point cross-field kick and scored by a perfectly timed jump and catch by Joel Monaghan.

That turned out to be the final blow that needed to be landed by the axe, all Wire had to do was push the tree over and they did so by tearing Hull to pieces down the middle, with a combination of great footwork, fantastic offloads, a cheeky dummy and overwhelming support play.

Along with the patience and composure the other most pleasing aspect of this performance was the youth of the team and strength in depth showed.

For those that fear that this is an aging Wire team and that last season was their best chance for a Grand Final win, the performances of players like Rhys Evans, Riley, Ratchford, Richie Myler, Chris Hill, Mike Cooper, Tyrone McCarthy and Ben Currie should have eased those fears.

It’s a long season, patience will be tested. Wire have already passed one such test.

Spirit of '55

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