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“I thought Leeds were the better team to be honest” – Daryl Powell reflects on how “rattled” Warrington Wolves beat Leeds Rhinos

In a bizarre game at Headingley, Warrington came away with an opening round win thanks to a late Connor Wrench try.

On any other day, the focus would be on Wrench and the Wolves late heroics but against a resurgent Leeds side who held the lead for most of the game despite being a man down, a lot of the attention has been on the effort from the Rhinos.

But what exactly should we make of Warrington’s performance today? Well, looking at what Head Coach Daryl Powell said, there’s certainly room for improvement but at the end of the day, results are the name of the game.

“For large parts it looked like we were going to lose the game,” Powell said after the match, “But we found something that stirred us up a bit and we started moving the ball a bit better.

“There was more accuracy and we got into attacking field position. We only got there six times all game. When you’ve got a stat like that it’s going to be difficult.

“Really pleased to win the game but you’d have to say you want to improve on that. I thought Leeds were the better team to be honest but ultimately it’s about what the scoreboard says at the end of the game that matters.

“They ran a bit harder than us to be honest. There’s quite a bit for us to improve but ultimately we got two points on the board and that’s what it’s all about. It was always going to be tough coming here and Bentley getting red carded didn’t help them but I thought they stepped up massively but we went the other way a bit.”

He also spoke about his exciting halfback pairing of George Williams and Gareth Widdop who he thought took a while to get going: “The halfbacks didn’t get a grip of it until the back end of it. When they did, they started to execute. We’ll just want more time in good attacking positions and that’ll give us more opportunities to score points. Both sides of the ball we want to improve, but after Round One most teams are thinking ‘we can improve.'”

Another member of Warrington’s fantastic spine went off injured when Daryl Clarke failed his HIA test. On this Powell said: “He won’t be available for Thursday, but he’s okay.”

In terms of players who could potentially return next week, Powell said: “Toby King is there or there abouts, but not 100%. We’ll have a check early in the week and see where we’re at.”

Ultimately, Warrington claimed the vital win despite missing the aforementioned King, skipper Jack Hughes and losing Daryl Clarke but they still have work to do after being “rattled” by the 12-man Rhinos: “I wasn’t particularly impressed with our composure. At the end I thought we handled that really well apart from throwing the ball into touch. We got our heads cleared and we scored a nice try to the right showing some good composure. Then we were able to score the winning try but throughout the game I thought we were rattled.”

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