WHILE hailing his side’s defensive display in the victory over Wigan Warriors, Steve Price admits Warrington Wolves must control the ball better in the coming weeks.

In what was their first game in nearly a month due to a Covid outbreak, The Wire ground out a 21-8 victory over their near neighbours despite being on the back foot for much of the game.

Wigan dominated possession and territory, especially in the first half, but only had two Liam Marshall tries to show for their efforts.

As a result, tries from Blake Austin and Josh Thewlis allowed Warrington to nick an unlikely half-time lead.

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Josh Thewlis try allowed The Wire to lead at half time. Picture by Mike Boden

Josh Thewlis' try allowed The Wire to lead at half time. Picture by Mike Boden

 

Defence was to the fore again after the break as the hosts kept their visitors scoreless, meaning Jake Mamo’s try was enough to secure the victory.

“I was really pleased defensively,” Price said.

“With the amount of field position they had in the first half, they clearly dominant.

“They had a huge number of play-the-balls inside our 30 so to go in at half-time 12-8 up was really positive given the work we had to do.

“It really zapped us but it was through our ball control.

“I think we were at 51 per cent in the first half so to go in ahead was a huge effort and very brave defensively.

“We were clunky with the ball tonight and the limited amount of training we’ve done showed. We’ve done two sessions.

“With Covid, you don’t know how it’s going to go and there’s been a few sick boys around, but that was a really gutsy display.

“It makes it really hard when you’re completing at 51 per cent. It’s a personal responsibility to hold the ball but we’ll be better for it.”

Eyebrows were raised when prop forward Sitaleki Akauola lined up on the left wing, having been slated on the team sheet to start at loose forward.

With Tom Lineham unable to play due to a back injury, it looked as though Jake Mamo was going to take his place on the wing.

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However, Price explained why starting Akauola out wide was “a no-brainer”

“I thought Sitaleki did a really solid job for us on that left wing,” he said.

“I think he’s in the top three in the club over 10 metres for speed.

“He’s very damaging when he’s carrying the ball and defensively, his decision-making at training has been quite sound. It was a no-brainer.

“He works very hard on his game and I thought that was reflected in how he played tonight.

“He gives the players around him a lot of confidence.

“Hughesey (Jack Hughes) was solid for us on the right edge and Coops (Mike Cooper) and Hilly (Chris Hill) were a solid foundation through the middle.

“Daz Clark hasn’t played for a while and hasn’t done much training either but I think he banged out 51 tackles.

“It was a good result but we understand there’s areas we need to improve offensively.”

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There was an element of controversy about Mamo’s try, with the Australian picking up a loose ball to race away and score from distance.

 

Jake Mamo storms clear to score the final try. Picture by Mike Boden

Jake Mamo storms clear to score the final try. Picture by Mike Boden

 

Replays showed the boots of Josh Charnley appeared to accidentally make contact with the head of Wigan winger Marshall, causing him to lose the ball for Mamo to pick up.

Warriors head coach Adrian Lam called the decision to allow the try to stand “disgraceful” but Price believes the try was fair.

“I had no issue with it. You’ve got to play to the whistle,” he said.

“The contact was totally accidental so I’ve got no problem with it.”