Warrington boss Steve Price hailed the performance of Stefan Ratchford after the England full-back put in an inspirational display in an 18-10 win over Widnes.
Ratchford crossed for a solo effort and put the boot into Widnes for another as he set up Ryan Atkins to cap off a fine performance in the Betfred Super League clash.
“Stef Ratchford was outstanding,” Price said. “He did a lot of things really well and that is what Test players do.
“He showed his international class and came up with some really big plays. He was not alone either, as Ryan Atkins really stood up too this evening, as did Daryl Clark, who I thought was excellent.”
Price admitted the game was not pretty but was pleased to leave the Halton Stadium with two points after Warrington drew blanks in their two previous fixtures.
He said: “It was a good, gutsy win. They scored two tries off kicks which is a bit disappointing but it was all about the win. Our goal-line defence was fantastic and we showed a lot of resolve. We were playing with 12 men with nine minutes to go and we dug in.
“Widnes have been going really well. They were really unlucky against Cas last week. We hung tough and got the win – that was the most important thing. It was a great response and our season can now start. We can kick on from here. There are a lot of good signs now going forward.”
Widnes boss Denis Betts provided an update on the condition of referee Phil Bentham who collided with his skipper Chris Houston.
Bentham had to leave the field after Houston – chasing a kick – inadvertently clattered him from behind – with the ‘ref cam’ showing the full effect of Bentham’s tumble.
Betts said: “Chris has made contact with the referee and it’s just unfortunate.
“His eyes are fixed on the ball and it’s just a clip. Phil is OK – he has spoken to our doctor and he seems fine.”
Betts felt unlucky to come out on the losing side after a “big effort” from his players.
He said: “It was an old-fashioned game. There was bit of bish and bash and real feeling in there between the players. We stood up for ourselves and it was a good game. There were a few times where we were an inch away from getting the ball down and that’s the difference.
“They scored two tries from kicks and their try (from Ratchford) could have been a forward pass. It’s all ifs and buts though. We were just on the wrong side of the scoreboard. We just couldn’t convert that effort and energy.
“They were desperate and it showed. They had a smart plan to attack on our edges and they did roll us back. But I can only say that I’m proud with how much we put in.
“It’s about getting better for us every week. If Jay Chapelhow gets the ball down at the end then there’s an opportunity to go and get the game. It makes it a two-point game. It’s those things that toss around in my mind and will not make me sleep tonight.”