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SPIRIT OF 55: Time for Tony to decide
11:00am Tuesday 7th August 2012 in Wolves news
MAYBE it was a curse of Knowesly Road after all, as two trips to St Helens since they left there have ended in two wins for Warrington Wolves.
This win was about as impressive a win as the Wire have produced all year.
After winning at Wigan earlier in the season and the Challenge Cup win in France, Wolves now have won at the homes of their three rival clubs in the top four.
Add to that the very impressive home win over Leeds and they have enjoyed a confidence boosting win over each of their main title rivals.
It would need a very biased St Helens fan to argue that Warrington didn’t deserve to win this one.
For long spells in the game Saints were not threatening the Wire line and they never had a sustained spell of pressure.
Warrington well and truly won the arm wrestle and the territorial advantage that goes with it.
With only four league games and a Challenge Cup game to go it is getting close to the time of season when Tony Smith needs to decide on his best 17.
Ratchford again showed his versatility and how he deserves a place somewhere in the team with a solid display at right centre.
Myler reminded everyone of his credentials with his best performance since coming back from injury.
As is often the case, it was a matter of doing the little things well that made Myler’s performance good, his ability to catch and then pass quickly and accurately inside the Saints' 20-metre line created many chances out wide.
Defensively the team were as sound as they have been for a while and equally encouragingly there was no second half drop off in their level of performance.
It was another of those assured performances where the team look as if they are expecting to win and expecting to perform well.
Despite there being a few players that often play in different positions from one week to the next, it looks like a team where each player is more than aware of their job.
The forwards are prepared to do the donkey work, but the three-quarters are equally prepared to help them out with it from time to time.
Half backs and hookers orchestrate the attacks, with the look of every tackle being part of the plan and no play being completely wasted.
The joker in the pack is Brett Hodgson, ever dependable in defence and on kick returns, and he must be a nightmare to defend against as you never know exactly when he will chime into the line and what he’ll do once he gets there.
Overall though, still the most pleasing aspect to the team is the spirit and enthusiasm with which they play.
It’s all the little things that show that spirit, kick chases, putting pressure on opposing kickers, congratulating each other on tries, big hits and try-saving tackles, leaving and entering the field of play together.
All those things that were so evidently missing about three and a half years ago that I found myself writing an open letter to the players, they all add up to something that trophies can’t be won without.
Late on in this game Briers put a decent kick into the corner near the Saints line, but to be brutally honest the chase was awful.
The fact that the poor quality of the chase stood out like a flashing beacon just goes to highlight how good the chases normally are and how rare an occurrence a lack of effort is from this team.
No matter which individuals are lucky enough to be in Mr Smith’s 17 when the biggest games come around, we know they will be physically capable of performing their role for the team at an extremely high standard.
It is far more pleasing for me to know that whoever the 17 individuals are, they will be working as one team, united by a common spirit.