Pictures Eddie Whitham
WARRINGTON Wolves made it three straight wins in The Qualifiers, but were made to work by Championship side Halifax.
Tony Smith’s men eventually prevailed 22-8, but not after a scare against the part-time outfit who were well in the game at 10-8 on the hour mark.
Matty Russell’s try on 65 minutes gave the hosts breathing space and Andre Savelio made absolutely sure two minutes from time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
It took 22 minutes for Warrington to breach the Halifax defence, Peta Hiku using his strength to get over down the right.
Both sides then had tries ruled out by the video referee, and it was Halifax who would trouble the scorers next, former Warrington forward Simon Grix putting in a grubber kick for Chester Butler to score and level things up at 4-4 at half time.
Chris Hill put the Wolves back in front six minutes in to the second half, but Halifax wouldn’t go away and on 55 minutes, Butler grabbed his second try of the afternoon, with only a missed conversion by Steve Tyrer preventing the scores from being tired again.
The anxious home crowd were eased by Russell’s try though it was a far from convincing performance, albeit with the Wolves almost certain now to preserve their Super League status for 2018.
After th egame Wolves Head of Coaching Tony Smith said: “We were a little flat in the first half and had to respond in the second half and we did. We probably didn’t nail a few chances in first half when we were held up two or three times over the line and had some dubious obstruction calls and if you nail those it gives the whole game a different perspective.
“It was a tough game because the ruck was slow and Halifax did what they had to. Credit to how they defended because they knew they needed to slow us down to keep in the game.
“Playing against a Championship team you learn some stuff, but I thought we had a Championship standard referee today!
“We have to be able to cope with that and come out on top regardless of that. Halifax haven’t given up all year and that’s why they are in the position they are in terms of making it to the Qualifiers and Richard Marshall has done a great job with them.”