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SPIRIT OF 55: Best performance in the wet for some time
11:24am Monday 11th June 2012 in Wolves news
THAT was what we had been looking for all season.
Those first 30 minutes were just about all you could ask for from your rugby league team.
Thirty nil up, no major mistakes, excellent decision making and some fantastically creative tries, all against the reigning champions.
Even more pleasingly and in the long term most importantly, it was the best performance by the Wire in the wet for a few years at least.
They managed to find the perfect balance between keeping things simple, to keep hold of the ball and go forward, and adding just the right amount of attacking flair.
Leeds looked like they weren’t expecting or prepared to deal with that in such horrible conditions.
If any young players out there want to understand what is meant by supporting your own pass and showing great desire to get up with a player making a break, then they should watch Riley’s second try.
When he put O’Brien through a gap, he never stopped moving and busted a gut to get into position to finish off the score between the posts.
The fact that O’Brien showed the required composure to slow down and fully commit the full back made it just about the perfect try.
It looked like one of those performances where all the players were very much on the same hymn sheet, clearly demonstrated by O’Brien’s two tries off the back of kicks by Briers.
Every player seemed prepared to run strongly with the ball, often gaining more yards after that initial contact from the Leeds players.
Higham had what I felt was his best game for a while, possibly ever for Warrington, taking the team forward well whenever he was on the field, either from quick, accurate passes or from penetrating darting runs from acting half back.
The overall quality of the play-the-balls were exceptional all night, not the most exciting skill, but one that has such a big influence on the attacking performance of the team.
When the ball was shifted out wide it looked like every player knew it was happening and understood their own role in that move.
Leeds showed admirable spirit to keep the score relatively close, giving the impression that all is not lost for the chances of defending their title.
When they got within 18 points they must have been hoping that the demons from Wire’s defeat at Hull KR the previous week would come back to haunt them.
Whilst their attacking exploits and pace of play had seemed to have deserted them a little in the second half, this one was lead that Warrington never looked like losing.
By limiting the mistakes and playing a more traditional style of wet weather rugby, Wire kept the champions at more than arms length all night.
It was probably the best all-round performance of the season so far, and still provided several hints that there is more to come.
That is a great sign that Warrington may peak at just the right time this season.