STEVE Price described Warrington Wolves’ defensive performance in the Challenge Cup win over Catalans Dragons as “outstanding.”

As they did in the 24-8 Super League win over the same opposition in France, The Wire stifled the dangerous Dragons, particularly in the first half.

When Steve McNamara’s side did create extended periods of pressure late on as they sought a route back into the game, the men in primrose and blue continued to turn them away.

The clean sheet they perhaps deserved eluded them, but Price believes the effort to turn away five consecutive Catalans sets on their own tryline personified his side’s display.

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The head coach had particular praise for the right edge, which included Blake Austin – recalled as a late replacement after Stefan Ratchford limped out of the warm-up – and youngster Josh Thewlis on the right wing.

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Blake Austin stepped in at the last minute after Stefan Ratchford was injured in the warm-up. Picture by

> An update on injuries to Stefan Ratchford, Daryl Clark and Matty Ashton can be found here

“Defensively, I thought we were outstanding,” Price said.

“We laid a really good platform in the first 25 minutes. It started swinging a bit at the back end of the first half but I thought we changed the momentum again after half time.

“It was always going to change but in those five sets on our tryline when they were coming hard at us, we showed a lot of determination and resilience to keep turning a quality team away.

“Blake Austin and Jack Hughes made some big plays over on that right edge, as did Jake Mamo and Josh Thewlis. It was a really pleasing display.

“It was unfortunate losing Stef but nothing changed for us. Austo came straight in and he did a really good job for us.

“I’m pleased for all 17 guys – they all contributed and there’s a real trust and belief growing among the playing group.”

Two first-half tries from Daryl Clark, who played most of the game through the pain barrier after picking up a pectoral injury, proved enough for Warrington to keep up their record of reaching the semi-finals in each of Price’s four seasons in charge.

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Daryl Clark touches down in the first half. Picture by

Gareth Widdop also added four goals having taken over kicking duties following Ratchford’s injury.

Thewlis was named in the team at full-back but lined up on the right wing, with Greg Inglis playing at the back in his second game for the club.

Price was full of praise for both players at different ends of their careers and with Matty Ashton now sidelined for three months, he did not rule out the Australian legend remaining at full-back long-term.

“He did a really good job organising our defence and our numbers,” he said.

“They throw a lot at you from an offensive point of view but he did a good job.

“We know he’s not at his best but the more games he plays, you will see the big GI.

“It’s important we take small steps with him – it’s a big step from centre to full-back after two years out as you’re tracking a lot more metres.

“We’ll manage him but if that’s where he feels more comfortable and it’s going to benefit the team, we’ll have a look at that.”

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Greg Inglis played at full-back on his second appearance for the club. Picture by PA Wire

On Thewlis, Price said: “He’s an exciting young player, Josh. His detail is first class and he’s always willing to learn and grow his game.

“He came up with some big moments – that line break in the second half and two try-savers on the right edge.

“He’s a good kid and he’s got a very bright future.”

Warrington Guardian:

Josh Thewlis put in an impressive display on the right wing. Picture by PA Wire