THAT is more like it, Wire!

The performance was far from perfect, but to get the season up and running with a victory over Widnes Vikings in a riproaring derby nevertheless feels pretty good.

This will always be remembered as Steve Price’s maiden success and it was built on the toughness and resilience he has been talking about since taking over from Tony Smith.

The way Wolves hung on at the end when Mike Cooper was in the sin-bin for interference was as gutsy as it was nail-biting as Vikings threw everything but the kitchen sink at them in an incident-packed contest that got tastier as the game wore on.

Even referee Phil Bentham was dazed in a collision with Vikings forward Chris Houston and had to be replaced by a touch judge.

Stefan Ratchford’s try-saving tackle on Jay Chapelhow in the closing stages was not only the game-clinching moment but epitomised the commitment to fight for what seemed a lost cause.

Nobody worked harder than Daryl Clark, who made a massive 60 tackles in his 80-minute display while Dom Crosby's addition to the pack after nine months out was a welcome sight.

Switching Ben Murdoch-Masila to an impact role off the bench was effective as he was a menace while fresh against tired defenders.

Wolves were never behind and probably should not have been in the position of a tense finale.

At 10-0 inside 14 minutes, thanks to the first of two catch-and-plant tries from kicks by Ryan Atkins and a sweet finish from an exquisite Ben Currie pass by Ratchford, Wolves were in command.

It was just reward for their poise, their measured approach work, piling on pressure and taking opportunities that presented.

Unlike the previous week in the atrocious conditions at Huddersfield, Wolves’ control of the ball was making all the difference.

But then they started giving penalties away, the count climbing to 6-1 in Widnes’ favour and it handed the hosts a foothold.

This time, unlike in Round Two, they got away with it through their sheer determination to avoid another loss.

A chance to finish off Vikings slipped by at 16-4 when Jack Hughes broke away to score, only for a penalty to be awarded for Currie’s involvement in some pushing and shoving in back play. And Tom Lineham acrobatically dived over in the corner but his effort was chalked off for a forward pass by Currie.

As it was it did not matter, The Wire had the bit between their teeth despite Krisnan Inu adding a second try from kicks for the hosts as a consolation.


. The Wire have now won each of their last 10 league and cup meetings with Vikings

. First Wolves win under Steve Price . Price avoids becoming second coach to lose first three games at Wire helm

. Widnes stay on 99 wins against Wolves since rugby league's birth in 1895

. Atkins' brace of four-pointers takes him to joint fifth with Leon Pryce in the list of Super League's all-time top try scorers. Ryan Hall is 16 ahead in fourth.


Widnes Vikings...10 Warrington Wolves 18

Vikings: Rhys Hanbury; Stef Marsh, Krisnan Inu, Matt Whitley, Oliver Ashall-Bott; Joe Mellor, Tom Gilmore; James Chapelhow, Aaron Heremaia, Hep Cahill, Chris Dean, Sam Wilde, Chris Houston. Subs: Danny Craven, Tom Olbison, Greg Burke, Danny Walker.

Wolves: Stef Ratchford; Matty Russell, Ryan Atkins, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Kevin Brown, Dec Patton; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, Ben Westwood. Subs: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Dom Crosby, Morgan Smith.

Scoring: Atkins try, 7mins, 0-4; Ratchford try, 14mins, Goodwin goal, 0-10; Inu try, 23mins, 4-10; Atkins try, 45mins, Goodwin goal, 4-16; Goodwin penalty goal, 55mins, 4-18; Inu try, 66mins, Gilmore goal, 10-18.

Penalties: Vikings 9 Wolves 5

Sin bin: Cooper, 71mins, interference

Referee: Phil Bentham

Attendance: 7,009

Top man (Guardian readers' vote): Stefan Ratchford

Watch the match highlights here: