ALL that mattered was Warrington Wolves won.

After the mighty let-down at Leeds, The Wire just needed to deliver a response at home against a form Castleford Tigers team.

The fans knew it, the players knew it, Steve Price knew it.

That is why Wolves’ game was stripped back, the coaches focusing on the team’s defence and controlling possession so that the visitors’ opportunities were limited to the bare minimum.

Warrington Guardian:

To that end it worked.

And to seal a merited 9-8 win with a last-minute drop goal by Blake Austin was a thing of script-writing stuff.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

You can enjoy a blow-out score, or winning fairly comfortably, but there is nothing like an heroic last-gasp triumph to warm the cockles, to get the fans on their feet and send everyone home with smiles on their faces after a week of intense finger-pointing and scrutiny.

It was by no means perfect, there were plenty of errors from both sides, but nobody could be criticised for a lack of care or effort in an old fashioned tug o’war that made for an absorbing contest.

Warrington Guardian:

Nobody wore the badge with pride more than hometown star Joe Philbin.

As is his way when he plays off the bench, he thundered into Tigers to give his team a lift midway through the first half.

It was his disruptive drive that earned The Wire a penalty from which two tackles later he was at Tigers’ throats again and producing a fast play-the-ball that led to Ben Currie and Toby King combining for Tom Lineham’s try.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Just as importantly, as the game entered its final five minutes, Philbin pelted into Danny Richardson’s first drop-goal attempt that went wide – as did Stefan Ratchford for his second attempt minutes later.

And then it was Philbin, with the energy of a champion racehorse, galloping into Tigers on the back of a similarly vital charge by Mike Cooper that set up the position for Austin’s magical winning moment with 55 seconds left on the clock.

There were lots of other special efforts – like Currie’s half-break and offload in the try move and his 41 tackles, Chris Hill’s sheer doggedness and high metre count with no penalties conceded for two games spinning, the 80 minutes from Ben Murdoch-Masila, the workload of wingers Lineham and Josh Charnley, the energy of Danny Walker on a rare start at hooker.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Nobody let themselves down and ultimately that led to the collective effort that completed the mission on this occasion, but there remains lots of room for improvement.

INTERESTING NOTES:

Only Warrington’s second win in last five home meetings with Cas

Lowest number of Wire points scored to win a game since 7-6 success at Hull on February 13, 2015

Tom Lineham is Wire’s top try scorer this season with three

MATCH FACTS:

Super League, Round Six

Friday, March 6, 2020

Warrington Wolves...9 Castleford Tigers...8

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Keanan Brand, Toby King, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Gareth Widdop; Chris Hill, Danny Walker, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ben Currie, Jason Clark. Subs: Daryl Clark, Joe Philbin, Sitaleki Akauola. Sub not used: Jake Mamo.

Tigers: Jordan Rankin; Derrell Olpherts, Peter Matautia, Michael Shenton, Calum Turner; Jake Trueman, Danny Richardson; Daniel Smith, Paul McShane, George Griffin, Cheyse Blair, Mike McMeeken, Nathan Massey. Subs: Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Adam Milner, Jesse Sene-Lefao

Scoring: Richardson penalty, 16mins, 0-2; Lineham try, 26mins, 4-2; Ratchford penalty, 45mins, 6-2; Turner try, 52mins, Richardson goal, 6-8; Ratchford penalty, 59mins, 8-8; Austin drop goal, 79mins, 9-8.

Penalties: Wolves 7 Tigers 8

Referee: Robert Hicks

Attendance: 9,228

Top man: Vote here