Warrington defeated Widnes 22-6 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday to claim an eighth successive victory over their derby rivals. Widnes led 4-6 at the break as each side tallied a try apiece, but Kevin Brown’s score against his former club followed by Matty Russell’s brace helped the Wolves to victory. Here are four things we learned from Thursday’s tie:
Momentum for the Middle Eights
Warrington’s third straight victory ensured they will head into the Qualifiers with vital momentum and their recent run, which also includes a 50-10 thrashing of Leigh, will boost their confidence further with the club set to face the Centurions and Widnes again in the Qualifiers. In fact, Tony Smith’s men could finish just a point adrift of the Super Eights should Leeds beat Wigan on Friday.
Kevin Brown scores against old club Vikings
Warrington half-back Kevin Brown was on the scoresheet as he helped his side to victory over his former club. His fourth try in two meetings against the Vikings came as he met a pinpoint Declan Patton kick to touch down under the posts. Winger Russell’s try in the second minute gave the Wolves the perfect start, but the hosts were behind when Stefan Marsh converted Joe Mellor’s try.
Strong second half showing
Smith’s side led once more after 52 minutes when Peta Hiku beat Charly Runciman in the air to make it 10-6 with Stefan Ratchford’s first conversion. Brown and Ratchford then made it 16-6 before Russell’s second try sealed the win. Widnes half-back Mellor was, for the second successive game, Widnes’ only try-scorer – and biggest threat. His weaving run from 20m out in the first half was rewarded with a brilliant try but the side failed to produce more of the same.
Widnes to refresh for the Qualifiers
Widnes’ fourth straight defeat could leave them bottom of the table after the regular season if Leigh beat Salford, but a bigger focus should be refreshing and refocusing for the Middle Eights. Denis Betts’ men have beaten Leigh in both league meetings in 2017, and also overcame Catalans at the Select Security Stadium. While the side will only have three home games to look forward to, they should prepare for all seven fixtures as they bid to stay in the top flight in 2018.