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SPIRIT OF 55: Play a Kelly Clarkson song for Warrington Wolves
7:14am Monday 2nd July 2012 in Wolves news
THE day before Warrington’s match at Salford there had been a sporting shock of seismic proportions, sending waves all around the world - Nadal beaten in the second round of Wimbledon by somebody ranked 100 in the world.
On this night, Warrington were on the wrong end of a shock that will reverberate up and down the M62.
For one of the first times this year we really noticed who was missing. Clear evidence of it doesn't matter how much creativity, class and skill you have, if you don't have the ball and you don't defend your line well, it's virtually impossible to win Rugby League matches.
At times this year Wire haven't defended as well as they would like, and there have been plenty of games where they haven't had as much possession as they would like. This trip to Salford showed the spectacular consequences of doing both those on the same night.
It wouldn't be a good idea to wallow in the negativity of this performance, although I'm sure aspects of it will be looked at and rectified, but it could well be used as one of those matches that act as motivation for the rest of the year.
Of all the sports to be on the wrong end of a hammering, Rugby League is one of the worst. Not only do you feel completely outplayed, you feel bullied, physically dominated and for males it can severely damage the masculine side of their ego.
With the cameras on them as they gathered behind their try line after Salford's penultimate and eighth try of the night, the Wire players had shock and embarrassment etched across their faces in equal measure.
Any performance has two main sides to it, one with the ball and one without. On this occasion the most alarming deficiencies were without the ball.
Far too many penalties conceded, which, as it always will, had a big effect on the balance of possession and territory.
More worrying was the defensive errors. Maybe it was a classic example of just how much of a team game Rugby League is, as a lot of players were defending with people next to them that they weren't that used to.
Whatever the reason there were a lot of poor decisions made, lots of signs of not trusting the bloke next to them and when they did get to the right place there were way too many tackles missed and fallen off to allow quick play the balls. At least one try was conceded largely due to the first marker not doing his one basic duty of chasing the ball.
When looking for the positives in this game I'm tempted to use Brian Noble's line of: 'The kit looked clean.'
But even in this battering there were positive signs.
At 44-6 down it would have been the easy option to go through the motions and throw the towel in.
Instead, the team showed great spirit and enterprise to conjure up three tries, seemingly either unaware or unpertubed by the fact that it was virtually impossible for them to score enough tries in the time that remained to win the game. The fact that this fighting spirit was driven in a large way by two youngsters O'Brien and Dwyer made it particularly pleasing.
Wigan losing at home to Bradford on the same night showed how upsets in Super League aren't that uncommon, but also meant that Wire had missed a great chance to close the gap at the top to one point.
It would be completely remiss to write a report on this match and not mention Salford.
They put in an outstanding performance. At the moment they look like one of those classic teams just below the middle of the table who can produce top performances, but can't produce consistency.
Nothing truly worth achieving is ever going to be easy, no glorious destination will have an easy path to it and it's how you deal with failure that determines whether you achieve success.
If I had been in charge of the music played on the team coach on the way home, I think I'd have put a Kelly Clarkson tune on: 'What doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.'
Spirit of 55