VINTAGE performance? Back to their best? Not quite…

In fact, if you believe Tony Smith’s damning verdict of Friday night’s game, you’d probably think there was more work to do than last week.

Once again, it wasn’t a classic but this time Wolves got the job done, two more points towards their end goal.

They were made to work hard for them, very hard in fact, by a depleted but resolute Catalans side who were marshalled expertly round the field by the experience and class of Todd Carney, supplemented by the youthful exuberance of Lucas Albert.

Pragmatic in their approach, always opting for easy kicks at goal from penalties and taking the points on offer, the French side frustrated a Wolves outfit that looked much stronger on paper.

It took a moment of Chris Sandow magic to open them up after a quiet start as he scythed through the defence before setting Ryan Atkins away for a simple stroll to the line.

A superb Carney short ball found Julian Bousquet shortly afterwards before wingers Kevin Penny and Fouad Yaha swapped well-taken tries.

It was a brief burst of fizz from another Super League game that failed to fire in an attacking sense, all in front of new England coach Wayne Bennett, who must be wondering where his luck’s gone after choosing three quite abysmal games to watch on his trip to the UK.

Tony Gigot’s horrendous-looking tip tackle on Atkins was not pretty on the eye and earned him ten minutes on the sidelines, but The Wire lacked the cut and thrust to take full advantage, indeed Laurent Frayssinous’s side had re-taken the lead when the centre returned to the field.

The second half was a chess match, with Brad Dwyer’s opportunistic score the only try, although Wolves did have two marginally chalked off by video referee Robert Hicks, as the game descended into a kicking contest between Pat Richards and Kurt Gidley.

Wolves’ veteran stand-off won it with six minutes left and secured two precious points. A loss may have resulted in the four-way battle at the top becoming a three-horse race.

Smith may not have been happy with the performance and he’s right, there are improvements to make, but The Wire are hanging tough.

MATCH FACTS: Super League Round 19 Friday, June 18, 2016 Warrington Wolves…20 Catalans Dragons…18 Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Matty Russell, Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Kevin Penny; Kurt Gidley, Chris Sandow; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Ashton Sims, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, Joe Westerman. Subs: Brad Dwyer, Ben Westwood, Ryan Bailey, Jordan Cox.

Dragons: Morgan Escare; Jodie Broughton, Tony Gigot, Pat Richards, Fouad Yaha; Todd Carney, Lucas Albert; Julian Bousquet, Eloi Pelissier, Antoni Maria, Glenn Stewart, Remi Casty, Jason Baitieri. Subs: Thomas Bosc, Thibault Margalet, Romain Navarette, Jordan Dezaria.

Scoring: Richards penalty, 8mins, 0-2; Atkins try, 10mins, Gidley goal, 6-2; Bousquet try, 14mins, Richards goal, 8-6; Penny try, 17mins, 10-8; Yaha try, 28mins, Richards goal, 10-14; Richards penalty, 37mins, 10-16; Dwyer try, 43mins, Gidley goal, 16-16; Richards penalty, 45mins, 16-18; Gidley penalty, 67mins, 18-18; Gidley penalty, 73mins, 20-18.

Penalties: Wolves 13 Dragons 9.

Referee: Chris Campbell.

Attendance: 9,259.

Top man: Ben Currie.


. Wolves record their sixth consecutive home win over Catalans.

. Tenth win in last eleven meetings with Dragons in all competitions.