A TRIP to Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium is the perfect tonic for Warrington Wolves’ opening week hangover, says captain Ben Westwood.
Licking their wounds following the 38-8 mauling at the hands of St Helens on Thursday, Wolves will be desperate to prove that last week’s lacklustre showing was a one-off.
And where better to do that than the home of the six-time Grand Final winners?
“It wasn’t a very good performance from us last week, we knew that as soon as we walked off the pitch,” Westwood admitted.
“We have had lots to work on this week, but the good thing is that it can all be fixed.
“We now can’t wait to get back on the horse and this is a game that will help us get back on track.
“Yes, we had an off day.
“But I believe that bad game is behind us now and playing a team like Leeds will be a challenge for us, but it’s a challenge we need.”
It could be argued that Wolves found it quite challenging enough against Saints, who extended the hosts’ miserable record at The Halliwell Jones Stadium to one win against their bitter rivals in the past 10 years.
But for Wolves’ new joint captain the performance was a blip, especially considering the quality of the preparation the side have undergone in Australia in the winter months.
“It is not how we wanted to start and it was not how we prepared to start,” said the 32-year-old second rower, who will lead his team out in front of the Sky TV cameras on Friday, kick off 8pm.
“But sometimes these things happen and I am just glad that it happened earlier in the year and we have loads of time to sort it out and fix it up.
“For me personally, I thought our defence was quite poor, especially on our own line.
“For a team to score 38 points on us so early in the season when all the players are fit is not good enough.”
Tony Smith also highlighted his side’s kicking game as a cause for concern, but one area which worried fans above all others was Wolves’ apparent lack of direction in attack.
Seldom have the primrose and blue army seen their side so toothless with the ball, but Westwood preached the need for patience as Wolves learn to play without the guidance of experienced heads like Lee Briers and Brett Hodgson.
“We’ve got new combinations this year, which is no excuse, but is going to make things harder,” said Westwood.
“Having watched the video, I think we need to be more patient in attack at this time of the year.
“It is wet, windy and, myself included, we need to rein in the play a bit.
“Offloading in areas where we shouldn’t and trying things that aren’t likely to work, we just need to play some simple rugby.
“But the good thing about this Warrington team, and we have done this time and again, is that we are quick learners.
“So we have learnt a lot this week and we go into the game feeling good.”