ASSISTANT coach Lee Briers says Warrington Wolves took a lot out of the 16-12 loss to Championship team Swinton Lions in Saturday’s friendly.

For some, in a Wire side that was made up of full-time first-team squad men, reserves and academy players as young as 17, it was a first match of the year.

And they had a sand-splattered, muddy, leg-draining Heywood Road pitch in Sale to contend with.

“The pitch was a throwback, that’s for sure, and it was a worthwhile run-out,” said Briers.

“We got a lot of benefit from the game. We needed people to get minutes under their belt.”

“I’m just made up we’ve had a really good hit-out, we’ve got some minutes into players that we needed to and we’ve come away with no injuries which is always a bonus.”

Some may have considered Dec Patton’s appearance in the half backs tough for him to take, having featured in the first team throughout 2019 but being an unused sub for the Wire’s friendly against Salford Red Devils two nights earlier and instead leading a relatively inexperienced side in unfamiliar surroundings.

But Briers was full of praise for Patton’s approach.

“He could have spat his dummy out after unfortunately not playing the other night but he led really well,” said Briers.

“He was awesome in training on Friday night and to lead the young kids around showed what type of person Declan is.

“For some of them kids to play alongside Dec Patton it’s massive for them.

“He’s a 2019 Challenge Cup winner, he’s got a lot of experience for a young kid and for them to even be in the same changing rooms it makes it special for those kids.

“And it also made it special that Dec came in and did his job and wasn’t asking them kids to do anything he wouldn’t do.”

While prop Luis Johnson backed up from Thursday night’s 35 minutes with a straight 70 from the start against Swinton, ex-Wigan front-rower Samy Kibula pulled on The Wire colours for the first time and another new signing, Keanan Brand, scored his first Warrington try.

All the points were scored in the first half, with four of the five tries coming from kicks.

Back-rower Ellis Robson was the other Wire try scorer, while Patton converted twice.

Briers said he thought the 17 and 18-year-olds in the Wire team ‘to a man showed up really well’ and the youngsters he named for catching his eye included the back-row trio of Ellis Longstaff, Connor Wrench and Jacob Gannon.

“That back-row will take some stopping in the academy,” he said.

His final word was for Patton’s half-back partner David Gibbons.

“He handled himself really well. He should go home and be pleased with that and make sure that’s the standard, he doesn’t drop,” said Briers.

“That’s the big thing that those academy lads who go back to the academy, they don’t drop their standards.

“The reserve lads who came down from the first team, they need to up their intensity to make sure they’re ready to go when needed.

“We’d like to think that reserve players will be pushing the first team and that’s what it’s all about.

“If they’re playing reserves, they’ve got to set standards because we need those standards for when they’re playing first team.”

Match facts:

Pre-season friendly, Saturday, January 25, 2020

Swinton Lions...16 Warrington Wolves...12

Lions: Mike Butt; Richard Lepori, Ben Morris, Mitch Cox, Sam Grant; Rob Fairclough, Jack Hansen; Gavin Bennion, Luke Waterworth, Lewis Hatton, Rhodri Lloyd, Frankie Halton, Will Hope. Subs: Paddy Jones, Jose Kenga, Louis Brogan, Oscar Thomas, Tayler Brown, Joe Digby, Ben Heyes, Deane Meadows, Ryan Gray.

Wolves: Josh Thewlis; Reece Hamlett, Nathan Roebuck, Keanan Brand, Callum Green; Dec Patton, David Gibbons; Samy Kibula, Kyle Shelford, Eribe Doro, Ellis Robson, Cole Oakley, Luis Johnson. Subs: Connor Wrench; George Roby, Jake Gannon, Morgan Burgess, Myles Tate, Aaron Pimblett, Ellis Longstaff, Alex Pendlebury, Sam Thackeray.

Scoring: Lloyd try, 18mins, Hansen goal, 6-0; Halton try, 21mins, 10-0; Brand try, 24mins, Patton goal, 10-6; Kenga try, 36mins, Hansen goal, 16-6; Robson try, 40mins, Patton goal, 16-12.

Penalties: Lions 9 Wolves 8

Referee: Gareth Hewer

Attendance: 686