POST-RESTART, this kind of game is what Super League has not had enough of.

Granted, it was pretty scrappy at times as both sides fell foul of the “six again” rule more times than they would have liked while the error count stacked up too.

However, there have been too many blow-out scores in this “new normal” so it was refreshing to see a tightly-contested duel settled by late, late drama.

On balance, it was a game Warrington Wolves had no right to win.

Here they were still without so many of their key players for Covid-related reasons and with Daryl Clark – often so pivotal to how they play – dropping out on game day to support his wife as she went into labour.

On the other side of the field, a Castleford side missing key players of their own but not on such a scale and thus, they preceded to dominate most of the game.

Such was their control of most of the field position and possession, the fact The Wire snatched this away from the Tigers is a real head-scratcher.

Warrington Guardian:

Anthony Gelling celebrates his first-half try. Picture by Mike Boden

Part of it can be put down to some poor execution – too often Daryl Powell’s side chose the wrong option in attack – but most credit has to go to a defensive performance that displayed the grit and dogged determination that has underpinned this Warrington side of late.

Wave after wave of attack was turned away and on the two occasions their line was breached, there were elements of misfortune – particularly the questionable decision of video referee Chris Kendall’s to award Derrell Olpherts’ try when he appeared to lose possession.

Equally mystifying was the call to overturn a Blake Austin score as Kendall failed to spot what looked like a knee to the stand-off’s head from Adam Milner has he grounded the ball.

Still, those perceived injustices were forgotten about when Matty Ashton slid over to snatch the late victory.

Warrington Guardian:

Matty Ashton dives over for the winning try. Picture by Mike Boden

> IN PICTURES: Stunning shots that capture emotion of Ashton's late winner

Of course, the full-back should get credit for backing up Ben Currie’s break and keeping his feet despite a desperate ankle tap from Peter Mata’utia, but Declan Patton’s short ball to send Currie through the line was quite superb.

Danny Walker, too, stepped up in Clark’s absence with an 80-minute, 58-tackle showing that demonstrates he is a more-than-capable understudy to The Wire’s world-class number nine.

Warrington Guardian:

Danny Walker stepped up in Daryl Clark's absence. Picture by Mike Boden

Once again, though, the biggest of praise must be reserved for Mike Cooper. 80 minutes in the front row after playing 74 six days previously with every carry as purposeful as the one before – the man is quite simply superhuman.

> 'One of the best front-row performances I've seen' – Price heaps praise on 'phenomenal' Cooper

Many thought the depleted Wire side would be looking at zero points from their last two games to stall the momentum they had built.

Instead, they have taken the maximum of four to emphasise that this group seems to be made of something more.


. Wire record their seventh Super League victory in a row

. Steve Price’s side complete a league double over Castleford


Super League, Round 12

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Castleford Tigers...10 Warrington Wolves...12

Tigers: Gareth O'Brien; Derrell Olpherts, Alex Foster, Michael Shenton, Greg Eden; Peter Mata'utia, Danny Richardson; Liam Watts, Paul McShane, George Griffin, Mike McMeeken, Oliver Holmes, Nathan Massey. Subs: Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Junior Moors, Jacques O'Neill

Wolves: Matty Ashton; Josh Charnley, Anthony Gelling, Jake Mamo, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Stefan Ratchford; Leilani Latu, Danny Walker, Mike Cooper, Toby King, Ben Currie, Ben Murdoch-Masila. Subs: Declan Patton, Luis Johnson, Ellis Robson, Eribe Doro

Scoring: O'Brien try, 19mins, Richardson goal, 6-0; Gelling try, 39mins, Ratchford goal, 6-6; Olpherts try, 55mins, 10-6; Ashton try, 77mins, Ratchford goal, 10-12

Penalties: Tigers 7 Wolves 5

Sin bin: Mamo (54mins, tackle without the ball)

Referee: Robert Hicks