WHAT started so promisingly ended up fizzling out into familiarity for Warrington Wolves on Friday night.

Hopes of a shock win were raised having taken a 6-0 then 12-6 lead against Wigan Warriors, but the hosts scored 20 unanswered points either side of the break to run out comfortable winners.

For Daryl Powell's men, it is a fifth consecutive defeat - so where do they go from here?

Our Warrington Wolves reporter Matt Turner looks at some of the game's key talking points here...

Warrington Guardian:

Wire succumb after promising start

When Daryl Clark sniped over to put Wire 12-6 up, it looked like something special could be in the works.

After the steps forward made in performance against St Helens last week, Daryl Powell’s men had started excellently – rucks were won, ground was made easily and they deserved their lead when it came.

From the moment they went behind, though, there was only going to be one winner.

Having simplified their game plan to account for their injury-ravaged outside backs division and the continued absence of George Williams, they did not have enough with the ball when the issue needed to be forced.

Perhaps the most painful thing is that Wigan barely got out of second gear and it was still enough to win comfortably.

Warrington Guardian: James Harrison's try had capped an excellent start for WireJames Harrison's try had capped an excellent start for Wire (Image: SWPix.com)

Neighbours cause Powell yet more misery

There are two sides Warrington have not beaten under Powell’s leadership since he took over at the start of last year.

Unfortunately for him, they are the two sides supporters want to beat the most – St Helens and Wigan Warriors.

Outside of knockout matches and big finals, these are the games in which a team and its head coach are ultimately judged and after this latest defeat, Wire’s record against their two neighbours under Powell stands at nine defeats from as many matches (five to Wigan, four to Saints).

By the time they next run into either side – the home game against St Helens on September 15 – it will have been more than two years since Warrington supporters have enjoyed a win over one of their nearest and dearest – the Magic Weekend victory over Wigan back in September 2021.

Warrington Guardian:

Patched-up right edge targeted again

With Williams pulling out late as he continues to be troubled by a hamstring injury, Danny Walker was the latest player pressed into action in the halves.

His partnership with Josh Drinkwater is the seventh half-back pairing Wire have used so far this season, and the third time in as many games the two pivots have changed.

At hooker, Walker is an excellent defender and his kicking game has often been profitable for his side, but doing those things from half-back are completely different matters.

He was part of a right edge in which three of the four positions had different players in from the week before once again and Wigan exposed that unfamiliarity, with all four of their tries coming down that side of the field.

Warrington Guardian: Danny Walker played in the unfamiliar role of stand-off against WiganDanny Walker played in the unfamiliar role of stand-off against Wigan (Image: SWPix.com)

Clark will be a huge miss

As has been widely rumoured and reported, Daryl Clark’s future looks set to be away from The Halliwell Jones Stadium from next year, with St Helens his likely destination.

His tireless display in this game, however, shows he has far from put his cue in the rack.

He set James Harrison up for the opener and scored Wire’s other try himself as part of a superb 80-minute stint at hooker in which he made more than 40 tackles and ran for over 100 metres with the ball.

In a salary-capped sport, there was always going to come a point where keeping both him and Walker would become unsustainable and it appears Wire have backed the younger man in Walker, who is and will continue to be a top-drawer number nine for this club.

However, there is no doubting that Clark will be a huge miss if he does move on as expected.

Warrington Guardian: Daryl Clark scored a try, assisted another, made more than 40 tackles and ran for more than 100 metres on FridayDaryl Clark scored a try, assisted another, made more than 40 tackles and ran for more than 100 metres on Friday (Image: SWPix.com)

Pressure intensifies

A fifth defeat in a row means this run is now as bad as any last season in terms of consecutive losses – they hit that mark twice during their nightmare 2022.

If their next game at Wakefield goes the same way, it would be their worst run of defeats since 2002 in the same season in which they have also recorded their best ever start to a Super League season.

That wild swing from the sublime to the ridiculous has meant patience among supporters has run out in many quarters.

There is no sign that their thirst for change will be quenched, but at the very least it increases the pressure on the games coming up after the two-week break.

Barring any fresh injuries, their squad should be at or close to full availability for their next game. There can be no more excuses.