WAS this the best result of Sam Burgess’ time at Warrington Wolves to date?

He stopped short of giving a definitive answer to that, but the Wire boss was keen to make sure his players took all of the praise for the win at Leeds Rhinos.

Despite the absence of several key players including three front-line prop forwards in Paul Vaughan, Zane Musgrove and Joe Philbin, Warrington ran out impressive 34-8 winners at Headingley to make it five wins from seven Super League matches under Burgess.

Having resisted the hosts’ attempts to fight back from a 16-4 half-time deficit, which was reduced to eight points early in the second half, the visitors flexed their muscles late on having broken the Rhinos’ spirit.

And while he insists there are still things to improve upon, Burgess declared himself “pretty happy” with what he saw as the “next man up” mentality was in full display.

“The players are creating that – I just try and get them going the right way,” he said.

“It’s them out there playing and competing for each other. You all saw what that mentality looks like, so I’m pretty happy.

“I thought we competed pretty well. We didn’t miss the start which we did last week so I was happy with that, and there were some good effort plays.

“It allows us to score points in other areas when our effort is pretty high, so I was pretty happy tonight.

“All wins are pretty good – the aim of the game is to win but they’re all good regardless of who we’re playing.

“Leeds are a great team so we had to be good to beat them tonight, and I thought we were clinical in areas.

“There’s a lot of things we can take out of tonight and improve on, which is a great sign. There’s a few things to tidy up but overall, I’m pretty happy.”

Having conceded the opening try to Harry Newman, Wire fought themselves into a strong position at the break thanks to tries from Matty Nicholson, George Williams and Joe Bullock.

Luis Roberts touched down early in the second half to keep Leeds very much alive, but Danny Walker’s score in the final quarter proved pivotal and late gloss was added by Matt Dufty and Josh Thewlis.

However, a turning point came at the other end as, with the score at 4-0, Matty Ashton produced a superb try-saving tackle to haul down Ash Handley after the Rhinos winger had gone the length of the field.

And while Burgess said the winger was disappointed not to get on the scoresheet, he insisted the tackle was “worth four tries” while he also heaped praise on Williams’ leadership both before and during the game.

“It’s a moment in the game for sure,” he said of Ashton’s tackle.

“For Matty, that’s one part of his game he’s great at – he always competes.

“He didn’t score tonight and he was pretty dirty on himself, but I told him to me, that effort was worth four tries. I’d rather him save one than score one.

“George has been great all week. His practice has been good and his leadership is growing.

“He really grabs the team with both hands.

“We had Stef (Ratchford) back tonight which is big – we missed Kingy (Toby King) but Stef has so much experience.

“Those two together controlled the team pretty well but George was brilliant through the week.

“The penny is starting to drop with him, which is a good sign for us.”

In the absence of Vaughan, Musgrove and Philbin, only James Harrison remained in terms of front-line props from last week’s game.

Typically, he led from the front alongside Jordy Crowther in the front row as Wire belied the absence of so much fire power.

“He’s brilliant and I really love what he brings,” Burgess said of Harrison.

“You know what you’re going to get with him. He’s my kind of guy – he’s consistent and cares about the club and his teammates.

“He’s pretty much the first name on the teamsheet every week. The boys really respect him in there and he respects them.

“His nickname is “The Camel” because he just keeps going. He’s a pleasure to coach.”