FANS that braved the bitterly cold trip to Widnes were served up a true ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance from The Wire.

For much of this friendly game, it looked as if Steve Price’s first ever game in charge of Wolves would result in being nilled by their local rivals.

Trial game or not, the honeymoon would have been well and truly over had that happened.

It all stemmed from a first 40 minutes in which not much more could have gone wrong for the visitors as Widnes swept into a 20-point lead.

All of their first-half tries came down a right edge that looked alarmingly leaky in defence, especially after Bryson Goodwin had been lost to injury.

Admittedly, losing Ben Westwood to the sin bin forced Warrington onto the back foot somewhat, but more could have been done to turn the tide.

In defence, Wolves could not control the ruck speed and when they did get to test the Widnes defence, too often their execution was lacking.

In addition to that, players seemed unfamiliar with the attacking structures they had been told to run at times.

Is this teething problems for the new regime? Tiredness from a strenuous army camp just days ago, perhaps? Only they will know, but something had to change.

To their eternal credit, things did eventually click for Wolves after they kept plugging away.

With the score at 26-0 with a little over 20 minutes remaining, it would have been easy to give in but they started playing some sweeping rugby.

Jack Johnson’s try was superbly worked, while Toby King showed aerial prowess to score from two perfectly-judged kicks from the previously-quiet Dec Patton.

The try Pat Moran scored between the posts also showed Wolves could, in fact, be ruthless and take their chance when afforded multiple sets on the opposition line.

While their late charge was not enough for victory and as disappointing as any defeat to Widnes is, the game should be put into context.

This was a team trying its best to implement a completely different style of play than they are used to, and they eventually gave it a good go.

However, Price will know there is still plenty to work on.


. Steve Price’s first game in charge of Wolves.

. Warrington’s first loss to Widnes in 13 games.


Pre-season friendly.

Friday, December 29, 2017.

Widnes Vikings…26 Warrington Wolves…22

Vikings: Olly Ashall; Keanan Brand, Ed Chamberlain, Stefan Marsh, Owen Buckley; Joe Mellor, Tom Gilmore; Greg Burke, Jordan Johnstone, Jay Chapelhow, Chris Dean, Matt Whitley, Brad Walker. Subs: Lloyd Roby, Sam Walters, Dan Norman, Sam Freeman, Joe Lyons, Ted Chapelhow, Tom Olbison, Danny Walker, Sam Wild, Owen Farnworth.

Wolves: Jack Johnson; Matty Russell, Bryson Goodwin, Toby King, Tom Lineham; Harvey Livett, Dec Patton; Mike Cooper, Morgan Smith, George King, Joe Philbin, Luis Johnson, Ben Westwood. Subs: Pat Moran, Ellis Robson, Joe Pilling, Brad Pinder, Mitch Brown.

Scoring: Ashall try, 6mins, Gilmore goal, 6-0; Ashall try, 19mins, Gilmore goal, 12-0; Marsh try, 35mins, 16-0; Buckley try, 37mins, 20-0; Brand try, 45mins, Gilmore goal, 26-0; J Johnson try, 58mins, Livett goal, 26-6; T King try, 66mins, 26-10; T King try, 72mins, Livett goal, 26-16; Moran try, 79mins, Patton goal, 26-22.

Penalties: Vikings 5 Wolves 7.

Sin bin: Westwood, 17mins (fighting).

Referee: Chris Campbell.

Attendance: 3,116.

Guardian man of the match: Mike Cooper.