Flower on song on return

Published: Friday 17th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Ben Flower was given the honour of leading Wigan’s victory song after helping them to a 30-20 win over Warrington on his return from a six-month suspension.

The 27-year-old Wales forward did not get among the scorers but he did enough to impress coach Shaun Wane on his first appearance since being sent off in the Warriors’ Grand Final defeat by St Helens last October.

“I thought he looked a bit serious, he’s not done anything for six months,” Wane said. “I was a bit apprehensive for him but I thought he played really well – he belted a few people – and he led the song in the dressing room.

“It’s good to have him back. He’s been vilified in the press but he’s a really nice bloke.”

The return of Flower dominated the build-up to the Super League derby while the half-time announcement that Sam Tomkins is returning to the club on a four-year contract made it a night to remember for Wane.

“Everything is great,” Wane said. “It’s fantastic getting these players back. We should be very proud. It’s a great coup for us, it just shows we do some things right.”

On the field, winger Dom Manfredi provided the highlight with his second hat-trick of tries in five days as the Warriors three times came from behind to secure a fourth win in five matches to consolidate third place in the table.

Ryan Hampshire, Anthony Gelling and Liam Farrell also touched down while centre Chris Bridge scored two tries for the visitors, who had led 10-0 after 10 minutes.

“It was a bit of tick and pass at times, which is disappointing, but I thought our attack was good,” Wane said. “We gifted them a couple of tries with poor one-on-one misses but it was win at all costs for us and we got the win.

“C ompetition is driving up the skill levels and we’re going to get better. We are going to put a real complete performance in soon.”

The defeat leaves Warrington outside the top four but coach Tony Smith was encouraged by his side’s performance.

“It was a great effort by both teams and another great game,” he said. “We produce some of the best games between us but, at the moment, we’re coming out on the wrong side of them.

“I think both coaches will be looking for some improvement in defence but some special rugby league was played. Sometimes you’ve just got to go ‘wow’, it’s pretty hard to stop if they are going to go to those lengths to score tries.

“The start of the second half really hurt us, it sapped our energy when they were throwing the ball around like a basketball.

“The second half wasn’t great for us but we’re heading in the right sort of directions. It takes good performances to beat us. We’re much better than a few weeks ago.”

Smith had mixed views on the performance of 19-year-old Declan Patton, who was making only his second appearance in Super League.

“His kicking game was sensational and I love it when he’s running with the ball but he got ragged around defensively at times,” he said.

“There are some aspects of his game he needs to step up. He learned some harsh lessons there tonight but he’s a good kid and will take things in his stride.”

Published: Friday 17th April 2015 by The News Editor

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