THE defeat to Leeds was probably the most encouraging loss Warrington have had for a long time.

Once again they opened the scoring, Gareth O’Brien’s beautifully floated cross-field kick being plucked out of the air by Joel Monaghan in a spectacular fashion.

It is something he has done so often that it is almost no longer astounding.

Leeds have started the season with an intensity that suggests they are not relying on winning the title after finishing fifth, as they did in each of their last two title-winning seasons.

The Rhinos always looked the most likely winner of this contest, but the most pleasing thing of all about the Wire performance was how much fighting spirit they showed.

The defence was much improved, particularly the desperation close to their own line, but the long standing issue on the left side still doesn’t seem to have been resolved – something Leeds exposed on a few occasions.

Grix returned and gave yet another excellent performance, proving once again that Wire are a better team with him it.

There was more ‘grunt' up front than against Saints.

The most pleasing individual performance was from O’Brien, he has the look of a player who doesn’t believe how good he is, hopefully with a long run in the team and more performances like this he will understand his abilities and the ‘Wire halfback crisis’ will be a short-lived one.

Leeds gradually scored three tries to get into a 18-6 lead with around 20 minutes left.

Three rare lapses from Wire were punished, twice by Hardaker and once by an excellent try from Briscoe who caught Wolves' defence out by coming off his wing to burst through a gap in the middle of the field and race half the length of the field to score.

Wire could’ve been happy with making improvements from the week before and let the last 20 minutes drift by, but instead they showed that their spirit is back close to its best by scrapping away with more excellent try-line defence.

Then scoring a second try that came when Westwood refused to be tackled, before almost pinching a draw when Myler glided through a gap and flung out a pass to O’Brien.

If they keep showing that spirit, and the desire to improve, then the wins will come soon and they will still be amongst the main title contenders, just like the two teams who have beaten them.