Warrington coach Tony Smith admitted his side were flat as they struggled to a 22-8 victory over Kingstone Press Championship side Halifax in the Super 8s Qualifiers at the Halliwell Jones stadium.
The Wolves made it three from three in the Qualifiers, but made hard work of overcoming their Championship opponents, only making the game safe with tries from Matty Russell and Andre Savelio in the final 15 minutes.
Smith said: “We were a little flat in the first half and we 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 the defended because they knew they needed to slow us down to keep in the game and they were allowed to.
“Playing against a Championship team you learn some stuff, but I thought we had a Championship standard referee today and that’s going to happen to us from time to time.
“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 there.
“I’m not too down on my players. They have been playing pretty well lately and everybody’s entitled to be a little bit flat from time to time.”
Smith praised the efforts of captain Chris Hill and centre Peta Hiku in the game.
The Wolves boss added: “Chris was absolutely enormous for us and Peta Hiku was also terrific. Those two led us in many respects and were exceptional today.”
Halifax coach Marshall was proud of his team’s efforts, despite their third straight loss in the Qualifiers.
They were level 4-4 at half time and trailed just 10-8 before the two late tries gave the scoreline a somewhat one-sided look.
Marshall said: “We are a proud bunch and I’m a proud coach today and I thought we had the opportunity to win the game.
“In the first half with some smarter decisions with ball we could have scored a couple more tries. We did force the pass, but we had to when you are playing one of the best teams in this competition and in Super League.
“Warrington have some world class players, but I thought our enthusiasm was world class and our attitude to defend for your team-mates was outstanding and that goes a long way with me.
“We didn’t win the game, but we certainly got a few wins internally in that performance.”