WARRINGTON Wolves head coach Steve Price says Gareth Widdop is the leading half-back in Super League so far this season.

The marquee number seven registered his first hat-trick of tries for the club to help see off a depleted Castleford Tigers side in the Challenge Cup semi-final dress rehearsal at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

However at the moment the long time England international has not been brought into Shaun Wane's national team set-up in preparation for the Rugby League World Cup at the end of the year.

"I haven't had those conversations with Shaun. But Gareth's been the form half-back of the competition I feel," said Price of the former Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra star now in his second season with The Wire after a sketchy first term.

"He's been in terrific form and I'm really pleased with the performances he has been dishing up.

"I'm sure Shaun will be taking notice, hopefully."

Warrington Guardian:

Gareth Widdop completes his hat-trick. Picture: Mike Boden

Even without the tries, Halifax-born Widdop, 32, was a stand-out performer as The Wire returned to winning ways against a side led by Price's 2022 replacement, Daryl Powell.

"Gareth's effort off the ball and his competing has been class all season.

"And to score three tries, he was the best player on the park.

"He's in a really good place and I was just pleased with the chemistry between all three of them.

"The spine of Gareth Widdop, Blake Austin and Stef Ratchford deserve a big rap in terms of the chemistry and the rhythm they delivered on the performance.

"It was a great response from Monday, with being a short turnaround."

Price also singled out his former captain Chris Hill, who led the charge up the middle to lay a platform for the spine to shine.

"I thought Hilly had some good moments with his carries and his leg speed and a bit of footwork around the ruck which was pleasing," said Price.

Toby King, back in his preferred left-centre spot, remains Warrington's leading try scorer after bagging another brace - the first of which came in a first half whereby the scoring was going from end to end early on.

But Widdop's fine solo effort gave The Wire a 16-10 half-time lead and the score remained unaltered until midway through the second period when the scrum-half crossed twice in three minutes to take the game beyond the Yorkshiremen.

Price acknowledged that the way the game was panning out the first try of the second half would be crucial to either side.

He added: "I could feel it was coming but we just needed to be more ruthless.

"The game was starting to swing then. We had a number of sets coming out of yardage and defending our try line.

"We held our nerve and once we got a bit of field position we scored a couple of quick tries in succession.

"It just goes to show what attacking prowess we have."

Price reported no injuries from the game, a boost ahead of Thursday's trip to Salford Red Devils.

And then Wire and Cas will lock horns again in the Challenge Cup semi-final at Leigh on Saturday, June 5.

Powell highlighted being without '11 to 12' of his starting 17 against Wire and will therefore be looking to get some bodies back on board for two weeks' time.

Niall Evalds, Peter Mata’utia, Sosaia Feki, Liam Watts, Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Cheyse Blair, Gareth O’Brien, Alex Foster and Jacques O’Neill were among the members of his squad sidelined.