STEVE Price believes Mike Cooper’s display against Castleford Tigers was among the best he has ever seen from a prop forward.

The homegrown front-rower remained on the field for the full 80 minutes as The Wire snatched a dramatic 12-10 victory thanks to Matty Ashton’s late try.

That came just six days after Cooper, who turns 32 on Tuesday, played for 72 minutes in the win over Hull FC as he once again carried the load with several of his teammates sidelined.

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Backs were against the wall for much of the game, with Castleford largely dominant but an impressive defensive display kept Wolves in with a chance.

Their efforts were rewarded when a superb short ball from substitute Declan Patton sent Ben Currie charging through the line, with Ashton supporting the break to finish between the posts and win the game.

Warrington Guardian:

Matty Ashton celebrates his match-winning try. Picture by Bernard Platt

“I’m thrilled with that performance. It had to take a special effort,” Price said.

“They dominated field position for big parts of that game but we were able to keep turning them away.

“We held our nerve after some tough calls against us. We stayed composed and it was a big play at the end from Dec Patton to put Ben Currie through to tee Matty Ashton up on the inside.

“It definitely tops last week. No disrespect to Hull but it was a step up.

“We’ve blooded a fair few young blokes over the past two weeks and we had every right to stand down, but one man steps up when one man goes down.

“The spirit is powerful at the moment and its growing. It’s important that we stay grounded and keep working hard.

“Mike Cooper deserves a special rap tonight. I thought he put in one of the best front row performances I’ve seen in a long time.

“He banged out 80 tonight – I’m not sure the metres he made but it was a phenomenal effort from him.”

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With seven players still missing for Covid-related reasons, Price could ill-afford to lose any more of his stars but was forced to do without hooker Daryl Clark, whose wife Leigh went into labour before the game.

It meant Danny Walker played 80 minutes at dummy-half and there was also a senior debut for Eribe Doro, who joined fellow academy graduate Ellis Robson on the bench.

Warrington Guardian:

Eribe Doro teams up with Mike Cooper to halt Castleford's Oliver Holmes. Picture by Bernard Platt

Despite this though, The Wire stepped up as they did last week in another admirable display of the spirit within the dressing room.

When asked whether he thinks his side would have won that game at the start of his tenure, Price said: “I don’t think so, not at the start.

“It’s been a work in progress and it’s a credit to all the staff and players for how hard they’ve worked.

“It takes time to build that pathway but its credit to people like Pete Riding and Paul Anderson for bringing some good kids through.

“It’s promising for the club – we’re in really good shape and I’m really proud of everyone involved.”

Warrington Guardian:

Ellis Robson got another appearance off the bench. Picture by Bernard Platt

Ashton’s late intervention allowed The Wire to stretch their run of consecutive wins either side of the coronavirus shutdown to seven and ensure a couple of questionable decisions from video referee Chris Kendall did not cost them.

Derrell Olpherts’ score that looked like being the winning try for Daryl Powell’s men was sent upstairs and although replays looked to show the winger losing control of the ball, Kendall stuck with the on-field decision of a try by referee Robert Hicks.

Kendall then overruled Hicks to rule out a try from Blake Austin, who was struck in the head by a Tigers knee in the act of grounding.

“I thought he copped an accidental knee to the head,” Price said of the Austin no try.

“I’ve seen them be awarded as penalty tries but it wasn’t to be.

“I was really pleased with the response to that. In the next five minutes or so after it, we went up a level defensively.

“It was backs against the wall for the majority of that game. It was a little bit quick to start off with and Danny Richardson was dominating with his kicking game with the field position they had.

“We got it back, then we lost it again and we just had to keep defending well.

“I’m not quite sure how many tackles we made but I feel it will be up there among the highest of this year. We held our nerve and stayed at it.”

There was a point of contention in the first half as winger Tom Lineham was put on report for an alleged “squirrel grip” on Castleford’s Alex Foster.

The Wire will now await the findings of the Match Review Panel but if charged, Lineham faces a lengthy suspension.

“I don’t really see a big issue with it,” Price said.

“Tommy’s hands were still clinched in the tackle but we’ll let the powers that be adjudicate. It’s out of our control.”

Price went onto confirm that no new injuries had been picked up and that he expects seven of his absent players to return for next Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter final against St Helens.