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Warrington Wolves' young stars are still shining brightly
THERE was much to be pleased about as a young Wolves side worked hard for a deserved victory in Sunday’s festive friendly.
It was therefore encouraging that new full back Matty Russell ‘did a Hodgson’ by joining the attacking line to help construct a try for returning winger Kevin Penny as well as showing his poacher’s instinct with a score less than four minutes into his Wolves career.
Another positive was an assured display from scrum half Gareth O’Brien, who, as the only recognised half back in the line-up, guided his troops – with an average age of 21 – around the field and bossed the show as Wolves established a 36-18 lead by the 63rd minute.
And it was fitting to the occasion that 17-year-old back rower Jacque Peet, formerly of Golborne Parkside, marked his first-team debut with the try that proved to be the difference between the teams.
Not to be forgotten, prop Glenn Riley, second rower James Laithwaite and loose forward Ben Currie were powerhouses in building the foundations.
Currie, in particular, used his height to great effect for two exquisite offloads rewarded with touchdowns.
Wolves’ man of the match, though, was hooker Brad Dwyer, whose pace out of dummy half was a constant threat and two tries from his dabbed kicks showed another string to his bow.
Vikings only came back into the hunt with three tries in the final 12 minutes while Wolves had their youngest and least experienced players on the field – seven teenagers including three 17-year-olds.
Widnes’ other scoring purple patch, when they pulled back from 10-0 down to lead 12-10, came as a consequence of successive handling errors by Wolves inside their own half.
It was good to see Wolves learn from that passage during the game itself in order to stamp their authority back on proceedings.
From this performance, Wolves head off to Australia on Tuesday with their pre-season preparations on track and exceeded in some cases.
Vikings: Jack Owens (1g); Paddy Flynn (2t), Stefan Marsh, Chris Dean, Ed Chamberlain; Tom Gilmore, Danny Craven (1t); Phil Joseph, Liam Carberry (1t), Paul Johnson, Macgraff Leuluai, Danny Tickle (3g), Willie Isa (1t). Subs: Joe Mellor, Alex Gerrard, Kieran Butterworth, Liam Hulme (1t), Luke Menzies, Ben Kavanagh, Ted Chapelhow, Matt Whitley.
Wolves: Matty Russell (1t); Kevin Penny (1t), Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins (1t), Gene Ormsby (1t); Jordan Burke, Gareth O’Brien (4g); Danny Bridge, Brad Dwyer, Glenn Riley (1t), James Laithwaite, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Currie (1t). Subs: Ryan Maneely, Joe Philbin, Tom Walker, Ben Evans, James Saltonstall, Toby King, Jacque Peet (1t), Jack Johnson, Andy Ackers.
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