AS season-opening matches go, Warrington Wolves’ narrow loss at Wigan Warriors was among the better ones.

There was incident, drama, intrigue and nail-biting until the final hooter. Thank goodness Super League is back.

Warrington Guardian:

All pictures by Mike Boden

Yes, ultimately The Wire were beaten 16-10 and in the majority of cases it should have meant the home fans went home relieved and the away ones feeling optimistic.

See all our Wigan v Wire coverage and reaction 

Whatever the rights and wrongs of that Chris Hill high tackle and subsequent red card in the 23rd minute, for Warrington to hold Wigan to just four more points – which happened to be scored when The Wire were down to 11 men due to a Mike Cooper sin-binning – is a monumental effort.

Warrington Guardian:

Wire teams in the past have lost a man to a dismissal and then ended up spending all their fuel in defence to have nothing left in the tank when managing to eventually get their hands on the ball.

Or, going down to 12 has seen them spiral and end up well beaten, and both outcomes are understandable.



So, on day one of the season when trying to build match fitness it was highly impressive to see Warrington remained as the more enterprising and threatening team throughout the contest.

Warrington Guardian:

At times, the way the likes of Blake Austin, Matty Ashton, Daryl Clark, Stefan Ratchford and Danny Walker were getting through the defence in the middle area, it almost felt as though it was Warrington who had the extra man.

Jason Clark did a lot of good things in and around the ruck while doing extra minutes to make up for the loss of Hill.

Warrington Guardian:

And back-rowers Ben Currie and Ben Murdoch-Masila looked to be at higher levels than last season.

Across the board this Wire side looks to be a fit, fast, lean, mean, delighting machine, throwing the ball around like a hot potato in the attractive manner that many a fan was calling for last season.

Warrington Guardian:

And yet it was not perfect – it could not be without 13 men on the field, but there can be no doubting the desire, attitude and calmness to the fore as The Wire did not just ‘hang in there’ but took the game to Wigan and were even attacking the line when the clock reached the last few seconds.

In the end, Wigan just did enough. And that has been the hallmark of their past few seasons, not reaching potential but having the knack of winning games.

Wigan’s saving grace was their scrambling defence.

And it needed to be, because Wire were fearless and laid a strong platform for the nine months ahead.

Interesting notes:

Wolves have lost on their last four visits to the DW Stadium

150th career game for Wire debutant Anthony Gelling

Matty Ashton made his Wire and Super League debut at full back

Warrington Guardian:




Match facts:

Super League Round One, Thursday, January 30, 2020

Wigan Warriors...16 Warrington Wolves...10

Warriors: Bevan French; Liam Marshall, Zak Hardaker, Jake Bibby, Joe Burgess; Tommy Leuluai, Jackson Hastings; Oliver Partington, Sam Powell, George Burgess, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Sean O'Loughlin. Subs: Liam Byrne, Tony Clubb, Ethan Havard, Morgan Smithies.

Wolves: Matty Ashton; Josh Charnley, Anthony Gelling, Toby King, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Stefan Ratchford; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ben Currie, Jason Clark. Subs: Joe Philbin, Sitaleki Akauola, Danny Walker, Luther Burrell.

Scoring: Ratchford penalty, 8mins, 0-2; Murdoch-Masila try, 14mins, Ratchford goal, 0-8; French try, 18mins, Hardaker goal, 6-8; Powell try, 23mins, Hardaker goal, 12-8; Ratchford penalty, 28mins, 12-10; Marshall try, 65mins, 16-10.

Sent off: Hill, 23mins, high tackle

Sin-bin: Cooper, 63mins, trip

Penalties: Warriors 7 Wolves 8

Referee: Chris Kendall

Attendance: 15,040

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