THE peaks and troughs of following Warrington Wolves have certainly been in evidence over the past month or so.

What is for certain is that the barnstorming, merciless destruction of Hull FC seems an awfully long time ago now.

Steve Price – usually so considered an unwilling to dig his players out in the press – was willing to label this as his side’s worst display in the 18 months he has been in charge.

Based on the evidence, it was hard to disagree.

> 'Worst display since I arrived,' says Price

From very early on, it looked as though something was not right with The Wire.

Stefan Ratchford was dropping balls he would usually claim with ease and the error count crept higher with every passing set.

With the ball, they seemed reluctant to do anything other than play one-out, up-the-middle rugby – far from the expansive play we have seen glimpses of this season – and it was easy for Salford to repel.

There was precious little creativity – Blake Austin and Daryl Clark tried and tried on that front, but they cannot be expected to do it alone.

Warrington Guardian:

Blake Austin's efforts were rewarded with a try, but otherwise he found little joy. Picture by Mike Boden

In defence, line speed was non-existent at times and some of their tackling attempts bordered on horrific.

They have got away with being below-par on a couple of occasions this year, but Salford were in an unforgiving mood.

> How Wire's home humbling broke down

Nothing should be taken away from their performance – tenacity in defence laid the platform for some bravery with the ball.

In Robert Lui and Jackson Hastings, they possess two excellent half-backs and they thrived on the base they were given by a set of forwards who were not the biggest but were mobile.

Warrington Guardian:

Jason Clark and Joe Philbin get a grip of Ben Nakubuwai. Picture by Mike Boden

Still, despite being smaller as a group, the Red Devils forwards were still able to overpower their counterparts.

Once again, physicality up front was an area Warrington were found out in – they appear in desperate need of an injection of brute force.

> Action shots from Wire's Black Friday

The way to beat them is becoming clear – be quick off the line in defence and deny any go-forward or space.

Of course, that approach often flirts with the line of legality but three sides have now done exactly this and have come away with the spoils.

The one positive? There is no time for soul-searching.


. Attendance of 11,867 is a Super League record for this fixture

. First try of the season for Bryson Goodwin

. Mike Cooper and Joe Philbin make 200th and 100th Warrington appearances respectively


Super League, Round 11

Friday, April 19, 2019

Warrington Wolves...12 Salford Red Devils...36

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Ryan Atkins, Harvey Livett, Bryson Goodwin; Blake Austin, Declan Patton; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, Ben Westwood. Subs: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jason Clark, Joe Philbin, Matt Davis

Red Devils: Niall Evalds; Jake Bibby, Krisnan Inu, Kris Welham, Derrell Olpherts; Robert Lui, Jackson Hastings; Adam Walker, Joey Lussick, Gil Dudson, Josh Jones, George Griffin, Greg Burke. Subs: Josh Wood, Dan Murray, Ben Nakubuwai, Tyrone McCarthy

Scoring: Welham try, 9mins, Inu goal, 0-6; Lussick try, 13mins, Inu goal, 0-12; Inu penalty, 19mins, 0-14; Austin try, 23mins, Ratchford goal, 6-14; Murray try, 26mins, Inu goal, 6-20; Inu penalty, 34mins, 6-22; Lui try, 37mins, Inu goal, 6-28; Inu penalty, 43mins, 6-30; Bibby try, 47mins, 6-34; Inu penalty, 58mins, 6-36; Goodwin try, 64mins, Ratchford goal, 12-36; 

Penalties: Wolves 11 Red Devils 10

Sin bin: Welham (63mins, persistent offending)

Referee: Gareth Hewer

Attendance: 11,867