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Result far more brutal than stitches in head wound, says Warrington Wolves forward Ben Westwood
IT was a ‘brutal’ Grand Final, but the result hurt Ben Westwood much more than the head wound that required nine stitches after the final hooter.
Patched up in the dressing room after the game, Warrington Wolves’ rough-and-tumble second row emerged to speak to journalists pained – not by the considerable injuries sustained by himself and other teammates – but by the manner of his side’s 30-16 defeat at the hands of old foe Wigan Warriors.
“It hurts more than last year, especially after starting so well,” he said.
“I thought we had a good chance with our good lead, but it was not to be.
“It was quite a brutal game, we had a good go and bashed each other to pieces. We’re saying it again, but hopefully we’ll learn from it and come back again next year.”
Brutal is the right word.
Westwood was this week banned for one game for his Grade B punching offence on Wigan’s Harry Sunderland Trophy-winning stand off Blake Green in the second minute, not to mention game-ending injuries to Joel Monaghan, Stefan Ratchford and Ben Harrison throughout 80 minutes in which no quarter was given.
Both sides copped their fair share of damage, Green himself endured a fractured sinus and ended the game with one eye swollen shut, but Wolves found the loss of backs Ratchford and Monaghan too much to bear.
With no backs on the bench, Westwood admitted that forced reshuffles left them with little energy with which to attack.
“We lost a few players and we had no subs left in the last half an hour and that took its toll,” he said.
“We had a few injuries to players for whom we had no replacements, meaning we had to shuffle – I was at centre at one point.
“The effort was there but we were just not quite right and Wigan deserved the win.”
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