SO much for this one being a dead rubber.

For a game with very little riding on it, Warrington Wolves and Salford Red Devils had those in attendance gripped all the way to its thrilling conclusion.

A more bonkers finish to an 80 minutes you will struggle to find including disallowed drop goals, penalties not finding touch and frantic off-the-cuff attempts at last-ditch winners, but George Williams was an ocean of calm in the chaos.

These are the kind of moments for which The Wire paid out big money for his signature and they will be hoping he shows similar steeliness when it really matters should the need arise.


Picture by Mike Boden

Picture by Mike Boden


For Warrington, though, this game was all about the bigger picture.

Several key players were held back but the rolling out of Williams and Gareth Widdop shows their rhythm and cohesion still needs fine-tuning ahead of the play-offs.

Mitigation of course needs to be made in terms of the number of players left out or injured but on this evidence, it may need a little more.

When the big boys come calling, Warrington need to be more clinical with the ball – not a new criticism but it is an area they will be found out in if things don't improve.

> The areas Steve Price believes Warrington Wolves need to improve for the play-offs

Too often they let Salford off the hook with poor execution and sloppy errors – a loose offload here, a rushed last-tackle play there and even the concession of a penalty while in possession for good measure.

They got away with it on this occasion despite the Red Devils' very best efforts, but one cannot imagine any of the top six being so forgiving.

On the other hand, this may well have been the kind of game The Wire needed going into the shake-up.

In a finish as frantic and chaotic as this, the fact they were able to ride through the maelstrom and reach the calmer waters is encouraging.

In Williams, they have a man who clearly comes into his own when things get tense. In a knockout situation, having that kind of player in your team is invaluable.

Asked to play out of position in the second row, Blake Austin gave Steve Price something to think about.

He has the physicality to play there and he showed it and is an extra ball-playing option. He could well be a weapon in the play-offs.

In a pack containing several youngsters as well as people playing out of position, The Wire needed the likes of Ben Currie and Jack Hughes to step up and lead – and they did just that.


Picture by Mike Boden

Picture by Mike Boden

Eribe Doro distinguished himself on his first ever senior start, while Ellis Longstaff's reputation was further boosted by another tigerish display.

Nevertheless, Warrington need to do better and the time for making said improvements is not exactly plentiful.


. Wire's first ever Super League win via golden point

. Eribe Doro's first senior start for Warrington

. Gareth Widdop's three goals took him to 100 points for the season (10 tries, 30 goals)

. Matty Ashton scores first Super League try of the season


Super League, Round 24

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Warrington Wolves...20 Salford Red Devils...19

Wolves: Matty Ashton; Josh Charnley, Connor Wrench, Toby King, Josh Thewlis; George Williams, Gareth Widdop; Eribe Doro, Matt Davis, Robbie Mulhern, Blake Austin, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes. Subs: Jason Clark, Ellis Longstaff, Stefan Ratchford. Not used: Tom Whitehead

Red Devils: Morgan Escare; Ken Sio, Joe Burgess, Dan Sarginson, Rhys Williams; Tui Lolohea, Chris Atkin; Jack Ormondroyd, Andy Ackers, Josh Johnson, Ryan Lannon, Ellis Robson, Danny Addy. Subs: Elijah Taylor, Sam Luckley, Krisnan Inu, Greg Burke

Scoring: Sio try, 9mins, Escare goal, 0-6; Ashton try, 15mins, Widdop goal, 6-6; Davis try, 28mins, Widdop goal, 12-6; Charnley try, 32mins, 16-6; Sio try, 39mins, Escare goal, 16-12; Lolohea try, 59mins, Inu goal, 16-18; Widdop penalty, 75mins, 18-18; Williams drop goal, 77mins, 19-18; Lolohea drop goal, 78mins, 19-19; Williams drop goal, 83mins, 20-19

Penalties: Wolves 6 Red Devils 5

Sin bin: Addy (74mins, high tackle)

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas

Attendance: 7,351