AND just like that, it’s all over.

The worst thing about the somewhat premature end to Warrington Wolves’ season is that, unfortunately, it hardly seems surprising.

There will be no Grand Final for The Wire this year and for that, they have only themselves to blame.

They had enough chances here to at least extend their season by another week. The fact they did not was symptomatic of how miserable – Wembley victory aside – the past three months or so has been.

Warrington Guardian:

Chris Hill and Ben Murdoch-Masila contemplate the ending of Wire's season. Picture by Mike Boden

Castleford will wonder how they managed to win a game in which they made so many errors.

A lot of that can be put down to courageous defence, but an equal portion has to be attributed to The Wire’s flat, one-dimensional play with ball in hand.

There was little in the way of flair or ingenuity – the one-out rugby Wolves were coming up with was far too easy to combat.

> PHOTO GALLERY: Wire's season-ending play-off defeat in pictures

The lack of an ability to execute basic skills such as passing the ball backwards stunted them in their trips to the Castleford danger zone.

By contrast, the Tigers came up with the combination of power and creativity The Wire have been lacking for a painfully long time.

We were told that the jeopardy of a knock-out scenario would bring the best out of this side, as it has done on many occasions.

All things considered, Warrington got what they deserved. Their season will go no further because they have not been good enough to earn that right.

> Update on Blake Austin injury

Warrington Guardian:

Blake Austin was forced off with a knee injury at half-time. Picture by Mike Boden

Steve Price was insistent that this Super League season cannot be seen as a failure. After tailing off so drastically and falling at the first play-off hurdle, how can it be considered anything else?

> VIDEO: Price insists Super League season has not been a failure

This group gave us all a Challenge Cup victory that will never be forgotten and for that, they will go down in folklore.

However, this year’s Super League has been a woeful underachievement after such a promising start.

Perhaps more worryingly for the club, such an important, do-or-die clash was watched by a painfully low crowd of just over 5,000. A season that started with The Halliwell Jones Stadium full to bursting ended with swathes of empty seats.

Asking season ticket holders and members to pay extra for play-off games will not have helped, but have the recent performances led to fans voting with their feet?

Only they can answer that, but there has to be long and difficult conversations had behind the scenes as to how The Wire rebuild.


. Wire’s lowest home crowd of the season

. Ben Westwood's final appearance takes him into sixth in all-time Super League list

. Jack Hughes and Josh Charnley make their 250th career appearances

. Joe Philbin plays for Warrington in Super League for the 100th time


Super League, elimination play-off

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Warrington Wolves...12 Castleford Tigers...14

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Toby King, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Declan Patton; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, Jason Clark. Subs: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Jake Mamo, Ben Westwood

Tigers: Calum Turner; James Clare, Peter Mata'utia, Cheyse Blair, Greg Minikin; Jake Trueman, Jordan Rankin; Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Chris Clarkson, Daniel Smith. Subs: Adam Milner, Matt Cook, Jacques O'Neill. Not used: Jamie Ellis

Scoring: Milner try, 29mins, Mata'utia goal, 0-6; Mamo try, 42mins, Ratchford goal, 6-6; Rankin try, 49mins, Mata'utia goal, 6-12; Mata'utia penalty, 68mins, 6-14; Hill try, 70mins, Ratchford goal, 12-14

Penalties: Wolves 5 Tigers 7

Sin bin: Goodwin (80mins, dissent)

Referee: Chris Kendall

Attendance: 5,627

Top Man (Guardian view): Jake Mamo