RYAN Atkins says The Wire cannot afford to give as much cheap ball away in the semi-finals as they did during last night’s win over Huddersfield Giants.

Wolves booked their top-four spot with a 26-24 victory at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, joining St Helens, Wigan and Castleford in the shoot-out for a place at Old Trafford.

Wire 26 Huddersfield 24 as it happened

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Atkins, who was playing his first game for over two months after bicep surgery, says there is plenty to “iron out” in the three Super 8s games between now and the play-offs.

“It was a bit of a sloppy performance, but it was great to get the win,” he said.

“We gave away some silly penalties in yardage, which is unlike us and something we need to get out of our game as we come towards these bigger games.

“There were a few errors and poor reads in defence, but they are things that are easily ironed out.

“Pricey will do that and make sure things are right for the semis.

“It’s great to have that secure, but we have to build towards that semi-final now.

“It’s all about practice and righting some wrongs.

“In bigger games, we can’t afford to be giving as many penalties away and turning the ball over so cheaply.

Atkins was named in the second row but lined up on his more familiar right centre role, with Toby King playing in the back row to accommodate his return.

He marked his comeback with a try in the first half and he says he is back earlier than expected after his operation.

“It was great to be back out there with the boys,” he said.

“It’s always good to score, but better to get the legs ticking over.

“I was way off in a couple of areas, but that will come the more I get out there.

“I could have played at Wembley if needed. We had a couple of knocks so I put my hand up to play earlier than perhaps I should have done.

“It was a 12-week recovery from the operation I had, and tonight I’m 10 weeks post-op.

“There was no point risking coming back too early in the couple of weeks before this.

“I’ve got to think about the long game and my life after rugby.”