ANYONE expecting a comfortable Wolves victory on Saturday was to be sadly mistaken.

Such confidence would have been based on The Wire showing their best form of the season in recent weeks, including running a half-century of points past Catalans last time out.

However, it was clear from the outset that the attacking gusto they displayed against the French side was not evident against the Yorkshiremen.

Credit for that has to go to Halifax, whose clear tactic to slow down the ruck as much as the laws would allow put the hosts off their stride.

With the ball, the visitors made good use of the blind side and a strong offload game, meaning Wolves were clinging on at times.

When Peta Hiku eventually conjured up some magic to open the scoring, it was thought the floodgates would open. Fax had other ideas.

Tom Lineham allowed Chester Butler to sneak in behind him to touch down a clever grubber kick from Simon Grix. Finally, Wolves’ seemingly complacent attitude had caught up with them.

A few boos were audible from the Wire fans at the break and one could understand why. Their team, stacked with international talent, was being shown up by part-time players from the league below.

Chris Hill, one of few stand-out performers for The Wire, somehow reached the line shortly after the restart but again, the expected barrage of points failed to materialise.

Instead, Butler once again embarrassed Lineham on the wing. The Wolves winger’s lazy attempt at a tackle typified a lackadaisical display from his side and Butler simply ducked under it to score.

Fax were right in the game and were winning new fans with their enthusiasm, but Matty Russell produced some international class that broke their spirit.

The Scotland flyer is not known for claiming high balls, but he did so from Kevin Brown’s kick and somehow finished in the corner despite intense pressure.

The visitors tired from then on, which would explain how Andre Savelio was able to bulldoze his way over in the final minute to give the scoreline a slightly flattering look.

A ripple of relieved applause greeted the Wolves players from the fans, while Fax were clapped from the field by all four sides of the ground. A true measure of the respect they had earned.

Wolves’ momentum is still rolling, but only just. Perhaps their break has come at the right time.


. A first ever meeting between Wolves and Halifax at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

. Warrington record their sixth victory in a row, their longest winning run of the 2017 season.

. Peta Hiku and Matty Russell score tries for the fourth game in succession.

. Morgan Smith makes his first senior start for The Wire.


Middle 8s Round Three, Saturday, August 19, 2017

Warrington Wolves…22 Halifax…8

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Matty Russell, Peta Hiku, Ryan Atkins, Tom Lineham; Declan Patton, Kevin Brown; Chris Hill, Morgan Smith, Ashton Sims, Jack Hughes, Benjamin Jullien, Ben Westwood. Subs: George King, Andre Savelio, Joe Philbin, Brad Dwyer.

Halifax: James Saltonstall; Chester Butler, James Woodburn-Hall, Steve Tyrer, Rob Worrincy; Scott Murrell, Ben Johnston; Elliot Morris, Ben Kaye, Jacob Fairbank, Shane Grady, Ed Barber, Simon Grix. Subs: Alex Mammone, Michael Sio, Brandon Moore, Ryan Boyle.

Scoring: Hiku try, 21mins, 4-0; Butler try, 39mins, 4-4; Hill try, 46mins, Patton goal, 10-4; Butler try, 55mins, 10-8; Russell try, 66mins, 14-8; Patton penalty, 70mins, 16-8; Savelio try, 79mins, Patton goal, 22-8.

Penalties: Wolves 12 Halifax 7

Referee: Robert Hicks

Attendance: 8,353

Guardian man of the match: Chris Hill