NOBODY could have asked for more from Warrington Wolves’ rising stars in Tuesday night’s 20-18 loss at Salford Red Devils.

The bodies laid strewn on the turf after the final hooter sounded told the story.

Warrington Guardian:

All pictures by Mike Boden

Steve Price’s faith in the abilities of the club’s reserves and academy players, many of whom had not played since March and some not at all this year, was rewarded with a sterling effort that has left fans purring over the future being in good hands.

Top of the list for credit was workrate, with tackling machines Danny Walker, Ellis Longstaff and Matt Davis leading a monumental backs-to-the-wall effort for long periods.

Warrington Guardian:

Connor Wrench, on debut, left, and Ellis Longstaff get stuck in

With a little more luck though, a Wire side with the average age of 21 that was always going to feel the pace of the higher level and lack of match fitness, could have embarrassed the 2019 Grand Finalists with 13 first-teamers in its ranks.

Not only did they take an 18-0 lead inside 35 minutes, they had two other efforts ruled out for forward passes – one of which looked to be a poor call on replays, meaning Ellis Robson’s try off skipper Dec Patton’s pass should have stood.

Warrington Guardian:

Nathan Roebuck's debut try and celebration

Warrington Guardian:

Stand-off Riley Dean and replacement prop Eribe Doro both lost possession in the act of scoring in the second half, while a try went begging when centre Keanan Brand backed himself instead of handing a walk-in to his winger Sitaleki Akauola.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Keanan Brand had the line in his sights

But as Wire tired they conceded a string of penalties that handed the hosts a foothold and they snatched the win with a 79th-minute penalty goal kicked by Krisnan Inu.

It was gutting that all the effort that went into attempting to make it 10 matches unbeaten came to nothing in such a cruel way at the death.

But that is Super League, every minute matters, and Wolves’ pups will be stronger for the experience in the long term.

Back-rower Longstaff delivered a John Bateman-esque showing, punching well above his weight against giants like Pauli Pauli and giving as good as he got.

Warrington Guardian:

Stand-off Riley Dean brought back memories of Lee Briers and Kevin Brown in Wire colours with his show-and-go, sidestepping and smart pass plays. Josh Thewlis was all class at full-back and Eribe Doro was a handful in his aggressive running and defence.

Warrington Guardian:

Riley Dean

Warrington Guardian:

Josh Thewlis' try and celebration with Ellis Robson

Warrington Guardian:

The more experienced Patton, Walker and Davis held things together for Wire for long periods but in the end The Wire paid the price for too much defending in the second half.

INTERESTING NOTES:

- Wire’s nine-match winning run is ended

- Nathan Roebuck, Connor Wrench and Kyle Shelford make Wire debuts

- Dec Patton skippers Wire in Super League for the first time

Warrington Guardian:

Captain Dec Patton pulling the strings

- Vice-captain Danny Walker makes 71 tackles

- First senior tries for Roebuck and Riley Dean

- Average age of Wire team is 21

MATCH FACTS:

Super League, Round 14, Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Salford Red Devils...20 Warrington Wolves...18

Devils: Oliver Ashall-Bott; Luis Roberts, Krisnan Inu, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams; Tom Gilmore, Chris Atkin; Lee Mossop, Connor Jones, Seb Ikahihifo, Tyrone McCarthy, Jack Ormondroyd, Greg Burke. Subs: Andy Ackers, Pauli Pauli, Ryan Lannon, James Greenwood.

Wolves: Josh Thewlis; Sitaleki Akauola, Connor Wrench, Keanan Brand, Nathan Roebuck; Riley Dean, Dec Patton; Leilani Latu, Danny Walker, Luis Johnson, Ellis Longstaff, Ellis Robson, Matt Davis. Subs: Samy Kibula, Kyle Shelford, Eribe Doro. Sub not used: Cole Oakley

Warrington Guardian:

Cole Oakley during warm-up, but he was left on the bench and still awaits his senior debut

Scoring: Roebuck try, 19mins, Patton goal, 0-6; Thewlis try, 30mins, Patton goal, 0-12; Dean try, 35mins, Patton goal, 0-18; Williams try, 39mins, Inu goal, 6-18; Kear try, 52mins, Inu goal, 12-18; Gilmore try, Inu goal, 72mins, 18-18; Inu penalty goal, 79mins, 20-18

Penalties: Devils 7 Wolves 3

Referee: Stan Mikalauskas

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