STEVE Price admits the Wolves players were tired for Friday’s friendly defeat at Widnes Vikings – but that it was “part of the plan.”

The Wire trailed 26-0 well into the second half as they struggled for fluency at the Halton Stadium before a fightback on the hour mark.

Toby King scored twice in between efforts from Jack Johnson and Pat Moran as Wolves got to within four points of the hosts, but they could not force another score.

Wolves went on a two-day army camp in North Yorkshire prior to the game and have endured a strenuous pre-season, but Price says he wanted his players to be drained physically.

The new Wire head coach also says it was good to see the areas in which his side were exposed but that he “expects better” in the game’s opening stages.

“We’ve been doing a lot of really good things in the pre-season,” he said.

“We’ve just come off a pretty strenuous army camp but going into the trial games tired is part of our plan.

“It was a game of two halves. I was disappointed with the start of the game and the intent we showed, especially the first 40 minutes.

“We’ve addressed that, I hadn’t seen too much of that prior to the game.

“Everything is about ruck speed in today’s game. If you can’t control ruck speed, you’re always on the back foot and you get what you deserve.

“It’s good to get it out in the open, that’s what trials are for.

“We saw what we need to improve on and there’s a few areas which showed up tonight. We’ll be working extremely hard to get that right.

“I thought we went out in the second half, found our way and played some reasonable footy to get back in the fight.

“I’m expecting better, especially at the start of the game.”

Price praised the performance of a number of his players, including captain-for-the-night Mike Cooper.

After a low-key 2017 season after returning to Warrington from the NRL, Cooper put in a strong performance on Friday and Price says he “knows he can rely” on the prop.

“Matty Russell and Toby King carried the ball really well and Mike Cooper had some good moments throughout the game,” he said.

“I can’t control what happened in the past, but I know what Mike can produce.

“I recruited him to the Dragons at the end of 2012. He’s a player I definitely know I can rely on.

“That’s why I brought him over to the NRL. He was terrific over there.

“There were signs tonight that he is heading in the right direction, so are some of the other players.”

Academy players Joe Pilling, Brad Pinder and Ellis Robson all came off the bench to make their maiden appearances for the Wolves first team and Price believes all three will learn lessons from the game.

“Those young guys have only played a couple of academy games so it was good exposure for them,” he said.

“I’m sure they’ll take a lot of valuable lessons from the game.

“It’s a matter of getting back on the training paddock and building up towards the season.

“I’m not pleased with certain aspects of the game, but I’m pleased with where we’re at.

“We’ve now got a great opportunity to get it right against Rochdale and Salford.

“We can definitely build from that, so it’s not all doom and gloom.”