Wire fan Rob Watson has his say on Friday's win over Hull FC in his latest Spirit of 55 column...

IN previous weeks, I have mentioned that squad depth looked likely to be an important factor this season but I was not expected it to be tested so severely so soon.

Wire took to the field with around eight of their first choice 17 missing. Strangely, it was almost all forwards that were absent, so the pack and the bench had a completely different look to it.

Some players’ versatility was tested, none more so than perhaps the most versatile player in Super League in Stefan Ratchford, who was asked to fill in at loose forward.

Playing the role of an old-fashioned ball-playing loose forward was always likely to be easy for him, so it was the defensive work that he got through in the middle that was the most impressive.

> 'He put his hand up to play the Logan Swann role'

Warrington Guardian:

All smiles for The Wire on Friday. Picture by SWPix.com

An early handling error from Gelling had given Hull the initiative and Wire found themselves six points down inside the first couple of minutes.

It was fitting that the try that levelled things for Wire after 10 minutes was not only scored by Cooper, but that he did it whilst charging forward and carrying two Hull defenders over the line with him.

Throughout his mammoth 72-minute spell from the start of the game, Cooper took responsibility for the performance of the Wire pack not dropping off despite so many big-name absentees.

To say he carried the pack on his back like he did those two Hull defenders would be harsh on the other Wire forwards, but he was without question the leader of this excellent performance He played like Hulk who had realised that some of the other Avengers were missing so he needed to get extra angry.

Warrington Guardian:

Mike Cooper scores. Picture by SWPix.com

Ratchford’s switch allowed Matty Ashton to come in at what looks like his favourite position of full back. Wire do look a more dangerous side with him in it, and certainly look more likely to score from long range.

He scored Wire’s next try, but it was far from long range as he pounced on a loose ball in the in-goal area after Hull had dropped one of Austin’s cross-field kicks.

Hull levelled the scores on the half hour mark, but Austin was involved again the next time Wire took the lead.

After receiving the ball on the right around thirty metres out, Austin did not like the look of what was shaping up in front of and outside him so he switched the ball back to Daryl Clark, who then kept the ball going to the left with a long pass to Currie.

From there, Currie ran at the defence before passing on to Mamo, who dummied his way through a gap and raced away to score.

Just before half time Austin stretched the lead out to seven points with a drop goal.

Currie and Mamo linked up again just after half time to stretch the lead further. The second rower producing a deft grubber kick through the defence that both of them chased keenly and Mamo did well to pick up cleanly and score in one movement.

Warrington Guardian:

Jake Mamo scores his second try. Picture by SWPix.com

Given the amount of players missing, one worry might have been a drop-off in performance levels when the bench players came on or when the starters got tired, so it was really pleasing that there was no such drop off.

Latu, Robson and Longstaff all made their debuts and none of them looked out of place or let anyone down.

> 'In the same mould as John Bateman' - ex-Wire star heaps praise on Longstaff

Luis Johnson also came on off the bench and did well, particularly after recovering from a careless tackle that result in a head clash that could have had a much worse result than it did.

Around the hour mark, Wire asserted their dominance and put an incredible amount of pressure on the Hull try line.

Eventually they got the try that clinched the win. After Austin and Clark had tried to charge over from close range on consecutive plays, offloads from Mamo and then Cooper resulted in Latu scoring a close range try on debut.

Warrington Guardian:

Leilani Latu celebrates his debut try. Picture by SWPix.com

Once again, Wire’s defence was excellent and Hull never looked like scoring too many more points.

Austin finished off the scoring with a trademark dummy followed by charging through the subsequent gap from 10 metres out just three minutes before the end of the game.

Toby King showed again that he is equally adept at playing second row and the debate about his best position will rumble on. Ashton showed he can definitely bring something to this team if they can find a place for him.

Currie continued looking back to his best and like one of the most creative and dangerous second rowers in the game.

After Bryson Goodwin leaving last year, we looked light in the centre position, but now, especially with Mamo proving he can do a job there, we look like we have plenty of options to choose from.

Warrington Guardian:

Jake Mamo gets over the line in the first half. Picture by SWPix.com

Josh Charnley and Tom Lineham proved they are excellent wingers to have when the pack could do with a bit of help.

It maybe took a few players to be missing for how good and important a player Cooper is for this team to become obvious.

Overall, it was a most pleasing performance and one that has given Steve Price the sort of selection headaches that coaches do not mind having.