In this week’s classic encounter, Warrington Wolves turn their 2005 Easter around with a big win against Widnes Vikings. Chris Flanagan steers you through the game, as it was reported 15 years ago

Warrington Wolves 44

Widnes Vikings 12

THE wipe of the brow as Paul Cullen left the field at the end said it all.

Despite it being only the eighth match of the 2005 Super League season, Tuesday night’s ‘derby’ clash had been billed by fans and media alike as a ‘must win’ game for Wolves.

So for them to not only win, but to win with flair and a swagger must have pleased Cullen no end.

It must be said that Wolves should be under no illusions - Widnes are no great shakes.

Depleted by injuries, Vikings fielded a relatively youthful side and went on to register their 16th consecutive defeat on the road, having now conceded an embarrassing 250 points in five away games this season.

Nevertheless, they had to be beaten - a task not made any easier by Wolves’ capitulation at Salford on Good Friday - and they were disposed of in some style in a match that became more one-sided as time went on.

The opening stages were nip and tuck, as Vikings replied to Jon Clarke’s early try with a converted effort from Aaron Moule.

Wolves moved back in front as Mike Wainwright careered through for his first try of the season but there was still a nervousness around The Halliwell Jones Stadium that grew when Stephen Myler’s penalty levelled the match.

Wolves seemed to gain the belief to take the game by the scruff of the neck in a 10-minute spell before half time.

Ben Westwood became the third forward to cross for Wolves, and an exhilarating move that went all the way from Henry Fa’afili on the right to Dean Gaskell on the left before Toa Kohe-Love was held up displayed a cohesion rarely seen this season.

And when Martin Gleeson romped over in stoppage time, Wolves were on their way.

A half time reshuffle saw Graham Appo replace the injured Kohe-Love with Chris Bridge switching to left centre, and for a short spell they struggled to get going again, with Matt Whitaker going over for Widnes to reduce the lead.

But Vikings had clearly not heeded the advice given out over the public address system at half time about tackling fires, as Wolves caught alight with a dazzling display that Widnes simply could not match.

Clarke registered another try before Lee Briers’ penalty allowed him to surpass the mark of 1,500 points for Warrington.

As Vikings heads dropped Wolves ran in four tries in the last 20 minutes, with Clarke completing his first Super League hat-trick before a try from Briers, who had a mixed night as his role in six Wolves tries was tempered by a goals record of two from seven. Bridge took over kicking duties late in the game.

During that period Fa’afili got in on the act with a late brace to make it nine tries for a side that had previously been Super League’s lowest points scorers.

It was all a far cry from the performance at The Willows, as a 32-point loss was followed by a 32-point victory - Wolves’ largest Super League win since the 52-12 defeat of Wakefield in the last game at Wilderspool.

Will the real Warrington Wolves please stand up?

Wolves: Brent Grose; Henry Fa’afili, Martin Gleeson, Toa Kohe-Love, Dean Gaskell; Lee Briers, Chris Bridge; Paul Wood, Mark Gleeson, Mark Hilton, Ben Westwood, Mike Wainwright, Jon Clarke. Subs used: Graham Appo, Steve Pickersgill, Warren Stevens, Danny Lima.

Vikings: Steve Rowlands; Andrew Emelio, Aaron Moule, Jon Whittle, Paul Ballard; Stephen Myler, Gary Hulse; Terry O’Connor, Mark Smith, David Mills, Mick Cassidy, John Stankevitch, Simon Finnigan. Subs used: Paul Crook, Julian O’Neill, Matt Whitaker, Daniel Frame.

Attendance: 10,061