PERHAPS the true benefits of Saturday's Challenge Cup victory over a game Bradford Bulls side will be seen in the weeks to come.

Head coach Steve Price says powerhouse Tongan Sitaleki Akauola will grow in confidence from his best performance yet in Wire colours, after starting a game for the first time since his arrival from Penrith Panthers and spending 72 minutes on the field.

Straight from the kick-off his wall-busting first carry put Bradford 'on guard' and he continued to be a leading tormentor in the pack.

When ever-improving Joe Philbin arrived off the bench it was a double dose of explosive front-row running that kept The Wire on the front foot.

Dec Patton, back after a five-match ban and two run-outs with partner club Rochdale Hornets, played a key role and will be better for it.

After a rocky opening 12 minutes the livewire half-back, taking on the chief organising role in the absence of rested vice-captain Kevin Brown, was busy and productive.

Not everything worked for him, but he showed how devastating his passing game can be when he attacks the line.

The 22-year-old played a part in seven of The Wire's 10 tries, with his distribution for second scores by Ben Currie and Bryson Goodwin along with the opener from Chris Hill particularly sweet.

Mitch Brown looked sharp on the wing outside of impressive hat-trick man Goodwin in the first half and then gained valuable minutes at full-back in the second half after switching roles with Stefan Ratchford.

With no Jack Johnson (broken leg) to call on and Matty Russell on his way out of the club, former Cronulla Sharks utility Brown looks the likely man to feature at number one should Ratchford become injured.

Josh Charnley, who bagged four walkover tries, can also cover at full-back but with his finishing ability outside a Ryan Atkins or Toby King willing to give him the ball, he is best placed on the wing.

Atkins' service to Charnley on Saturday was first class, their combination clearly improving with time together.

With 20-year-old prop Pat Moran making a solid debut, Morgan Smith not looking out of place at hooker and Harvey Livett standing tall in the pack initially and then at left centre, Price clearly has his troops giving their best and fighting for spots.

Nobody can ask for more than that.



. Wolves' biggest win of the season

. Prop Pat Moran makes his debut

. First start for Sitaleki Akauola

. Maiden Wire hat-tricks for Josh Charnley and Bryson Goodwin

. Two Wire hat-trick men in a game for the first time since Joel Monaghan, 4, Ben Currie, 3, and Chris Hill, 3, crossed in 72-12 home win against London Broncos in 2014

. Charnley's second try brought up his 1,000 points scored in rugby league

. Fourth time in nine years The Wire have knocked Bradford out of the Challenge Cup


Challenge Cup fifth round, Saturday, April 21, 2018

Warrington Wolves...54 Bradford Bulls...6

Wolves: Stef Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Ryan Atkins, Bryson Goodwin, Mitch Brown; Dec Patton, Tyrone Roberts; Chris Hill, Morgan Smith, Sita Akauola, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, George King. Subs: Joe Philbin, Harvey Livett, Ben Westwood, Pat Moran.

Bulls: Brandon Pickersgill; Dalton Grant, Ashley Gibson, Ross Oakes, Ethan Ryan; Joe Keyes, Elliot Minchella; Liam Kirk, Vila Halafihi, Steve Crossley, Matty Gartside, Liam Johnson, George Milton. Subs: George Flanagan, Ross Peltier, Callum Bustin, Mikey Wood.

Scoring: Hill try, 10mins, Ratchford goal, 6-0; Currie try, 13mins, 10-0; Goodwin try, 15mins, Ratchford goal, 16-0; Currie try, 21mins, Ratchford goal, 22-0; Charnley try, 24mins, 26-0; Charnley try, 40mins, 30-0; Charnley try, 43mins, Goodwin goal, 36-0; Charnley try, 47mins, Goodwin goal, 42-0; Goodwin try, 53mins, Goodwin goal, 48-0; Goodwin try, 61mins, 54-0; Keyes try, 76mins, Keyes goal, 54-6.

Penalties: Wolves 9 Bulls 7

Referee: Tom Grant

Attendance: 4,710

Top man (Guardian readers' vote): Bryson Goodwin