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SPIRIT OF 55: Warrington Wolves' handling is a joy to watch
10:40am Monday 30th July 2012 in Wolves news
WATCHING Warrington this season gives you a similar feeling to that of a child whose parents tell him they are going to leave him in the house on his own for a few hours.
You might not know exactly what’s going to happen, but you know you’re going to have a lot of fun.
This was another game that consisted of a long spell of brilliance, yet still the wait continues for a full 80-minute performance of the highest standard.
Maybe they will save it for Wembley and Old Trafford.
When it got to 32-0 it looked like a case of wrong time, wrong place for poor old Bradford, as if they were going to be the team on the wrong end of an absolute hammering that Warrington have been threatening to hand out all season.
Yet just before half time the momentum turned and the Wire seemed to take their foot off the gas in an all too familiar fashion.
As was the case last week, one must acknowledge the spirit shown by the opponents.
The terrible state the club are in off the field was always likely to either make or break the team’s spirit and it is to the great credit of everyone involved that it has clearly been the former.
At 32-0 down away to a Warrington side bang in form and producing exhibition stuff, it would have been easy to throw the towel in and take a rest for next week’s game.
Instead Bradford seemed completely undeterred by the score and played with an admirable amount of desire.
Second-half lapses in defence for the second week running will be cause for some alarm, but this was a game where the positives most definitely outnumbered the negatives.
At times in the first half they were playing close to their best, some of the handling was basketball-like in its brilliance.
Not only did offloads come, but they were expected by the whole team, who were on the front foot and ready to take advantage.
The first try set the tone, with an offload in the middle of the pitch followed by two quick passes from Monaghan and Briers allowing Evans to produce some classic centre play to expose the two versus one situation and send Joel Monaghan scorching down the touchline.
From that point the dominance was maintained by some excellent strong running and quick play-the-balls that allowed the team to gain good yardage.
But it was the offloads and the handling that really caught the eye, at times it really did have an exhibition feel to it and there were several genuinely breathtaking moments as myself and the people on the terraces gasped, applauded and smiled in admiration.
Once again Mr Smith shuffled his deck, the most notable trump cards missing this time being Atkins, Hodgson and Bridge.
Once again, it didn’t stop the team racking up a big score and another win.
The lack of a sustained performance is becoming increasingly frustrating, but it also has to be noted that this team have become exceptional at amassing a lot of points quickly whenever they are in the ascendency in a game.
Often in rugby league both teams have spells of territorial and possession dominance.
It is how you affect the score during your dominant spell that determines the outcome of the game and I really don’t think any team in the league would’ve been able to restrain Wire during the opening 30 minutes or so of this game.