BOTH sides deserve credit from this game for different reasons.

Yes, it was far from pretty on the eye and not the free-flowing points fest the conditions – pretty much perfect for rugby league – perhaps merited.

Instead, it was an old-fashioned arm wrestle that Warrington Wolves did just about enough to win.

When a hero was needed, Blake Austin stepped up as he did against Castleford Tigers all those months ago to ice the winning drop goal and make amends for the rush of blood to the head that saw him sin-binned for tripping Adam O’Brien in the first half.

Warrington Guardian:

Blake Austin is congratulated after hitting the winning drop goal. Picture by Mike Boden

That incident pretty much summed up a disciplinary performance from The Wire that was far from up to scratch.

> VIDEO: 'Unacceptable' in some areas, 'proud' in others – Price's reaction to win over Giants

Large swathes of the first half in particular were spent turning away wave after wave of Huddersfield pressure brought upon themselves by the giving away of soft penalties.

Without meaning to disparage the Giants, who look a much better outfit than they have in the past few years, you got the impression Warrington would have been in grave peril if they had handed as much ball to the likes of St Helens or Wigan.

Warrington Guardian:

Mike Cooper looks for progress. Picture by Mike Boden

While Ben Murdoch-Masila’s sin bin was pretty unavoidable, Austin’s was borne out of frustration after knocking on in great field position.

There are those who feel The Wire’s Tongan second rower should have followed Matty English, whose head made accidental but sickening contact with Murdoch-Masila’s shoulder, and spent the rest of the game on the sidelines.

Steve Price thought a yellow card was fair, Simon Woolford seemed loathe to give an opinion either way. All eyes will be on the disciplinary panel now.

> Murdoch-Masila's classy message to English after shoulder charge

Still, the fact Wolves came out of the first half level at 8-8 is credit to their defence, which was outstanding.

They managed their periods with 12 men well – all their first-half points actually came when they were a man down – and perhaps a marker of how strong they were was Aidan Sezer opting for two points from a penalty rather than testing out the defence once more.

Warrington Guardian: Warrington Guardian:

Some tough tackling from the Wire defence. Pictures by Mike Boden

The second half yielded two well-worked tries but with Huddersfield’s numbers dwindling – they finished the game with a scratch 13 on the pitch – they had the chance to really turn the screw but allowed the Giants back into the game, with Austin’s laser-like boot negating the need for golden point extra time.

Still, results momentum continues to build and some players look like they are clicking into gear.

Gareth Widdop had perhaps his best game in a Wire shirt, a first try of the season was another milestone in Ben Currie’s rejuvenation and Toby King continues his growth into being a highly capable centre.

The players themselves will know, however, that there is still much to work on.

Warrington Guardian:

Gareth Widdop touches down. Picture by Mike Boden


. Four straight wins is Wire’s best Super League run since March/April last year (Five wins in a row)

. Back-to-back away league wins for first time since April/May 2019

. Ben Currie scores his first try of the season


Super League, Round Nine

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Huddersfield Giants...18 Warrington Wolves...19

Giants: Ashton Golding; Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Jake Wardle, Darnell McIntosh; Tom Holmes, Aidan Sezer; Matty English, Adam O'Brien, Suaia Matagi, Kenny Edwards, Ukuma Ta'ai, Michael Lawrence. Subs: Oliver Russell, Sam Hewitt, Sam Wood, Adam Walne

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Jake Mamo, Toby King, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Gareth Widdop; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes. Subs: Jason Clark, Joe Philbin, Sitaleki Akauola, Danny Walker

Scoring: Ratchford penalty, 9mins, 0-2; Ta'ai try, 13mins, Sezer goal, 6-2; Currie try, 25mins, Ratchford goal, 6-8; Sezer penalty, 39mins, 8-8; Widdop try, 43mins, Ratchford goal, 8-14; McGillvary try, 54mins, 12-14; Lineham try, 58mins, 12-18; Russell try, 74mins, Russell goal, 18-18; Austin drop goal, 77mins, 18-19

Penalties: Giants 8 Wolves 4

Sin bin: Murdoch-Masila (4mins, shoulder charge), Austin (20mins, tripping)

Referee: Ben Thaler