Warrington Wolves hosted local rivals Widnes Vikings tonight in the club’s first game under new head coach Sam Burgess.
There is major expectation on Burgess’ shoulders now that he has stepped into the coaching game given his incredible record as one of England’s best-ever players.
Tonight was the first chance to see how that talent on the field translates into the coaching sphere and his test was Championship side Widnes Vikings.
The Wire named a youthful side with experience lacking following knocks sustained to captain Stefan Ratchford, exciting talent Josh Thewlis, and new signing Rodrick Tai during the week.
Warrington were able to field their newly contracted youngsters Luke Thomas and Arron Lindop as well as a new signing from Wigan Warriors Max Wood.
As for the visitors, they were playing their final pre-season game before they begin their 1895 Cup campaign and so they went with a strong side, although Callum Field, Martyn Reilly and Danny Langtree all missed out through injury.
Sam Burgess’ first game in charge got off to a disastrous start. The Wolves were 10-0 down after seven minutes with Max Roberts scoring for the Vikings after four minutes before Matt Fleming doubled Widnes’ lead from a high kick. Former Hull KR star Kieran Dixon converted.
The Wolves needed a response and it came five minutes later when youngster Max Wood crashed over under the posts with Leon Hayes converting.
The rest bite for the Wolves was over when three minutes later Kieran Dixon scored a try himself to make it 16-10.
It was tit for tat with the Wolves notching their next try when Brad Dwyer sent Luke Thomas over and in the 25th minute the Wolves levelled matters thanks to a try from Cai Taylor-Wray down the wing.
Then an error allowed former Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos star Brad Dwyer to cross for a try on his second debut for the club.
Just before the break Tom Whitehead bagged a brace to make it 34-16 in a dramatic turn around for the Wolves.
Warrington kept the tries coming in the second half with max Wood touching down for his second try to make it 40-16.
The Wolves however did concede two more tries with Kieran Dixon notching his second before Sam Wilde made it 40-28.
The Wolves re-established their lead with a try from Cai Taylor-Wray making it 46-28 but Widnes kept coming with Sam Wilde scoring again to make it 46-34.
Matty Fozzard scored the last try of the game to make it 46-40.