FOR 40 minutes, Widnes gave as good as they got against Steve Price’s expensively assembled and highly fancied Wolves side.

Even when the scoreline ran away from them in the second half after multiple replacements from an elongated bench, the Vikings still showed plenty of enthusiasm as they went head-to-head with one of the teams most fancied to lift the Super League crown in 2019.

Widnes were once again without star centre pairing Krisnan Inu and Anthony Gelling though coach Kieron Purtill is hopeful of getting the duo on the field for this Sunday’s home friendly against North Wales Crusaders.

With half-backs Tom Gilmore and Danny Craven also still on the sidelines, Jack Owens and Joe Lyons were given an opportunity to show what they could do in midfield.

In the forwards, the likes of Hep Cahill, Adam Tangata and Harrison Hansen held their own for the most part against a powerful Wolves pack while Liam Hood buzzed around to some effect at dummy-half.

The Vikings had to do plenty of defending early in the piece but showed admirable commitment as they repelled multiple sets on their tryline.

Emboldened by their defensive efforts, Widnes launched some attacks of their own and after a spell of pressure took the lead when Hood sneaked over from the play-the-ball with Owens converting.

The game was shaping up as an even contest and five minutes before the break, Wolves substitute Jake Mamo latched on to a loose pass and raced 40 metres to level the scores.

When Australian marquee man Blake Austin jinked over just before the break to give Warrington the lead, there was a feeling the home side were ready to finally cut loose and that impression was reinforced when Dec Patton crossed early in the second period to make it 16-6.

However, the Vikings pulled six points back when Lyons’ grubber kick to the in-goal was pounced on by Brad Walker.

Daryl Clark scored from a Stefan Ratchford cross-kick to keep the Wolves in the driving seat but the expected points avalanche never really materialised.

In the end, Warrington did enough to keep their own fans happy with the speedy Mamo completing a hat-trick with wingers Tom Lineham and Josh Charnley also crossing.

Vikings fans obviously never like to see their side lose against the old enemy but in terms of the bigger picture they may feel there are signs the team is on the right track as the Championship season approaches.

Warrington: Ratchford; Charnley, Goodwin, Atkins, Lineham; Austin, Brown; Hill, D Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, J Clark. Subs: Tasi, Patton, Westwood, Akauola, King, Philbin, Mamo, Walker.

Widnes: Ashall-Bott; Buckley, Dean, Brand, Ince; Owens, Lyons; Cahill, Hood, Tangata, Hansen, Wilde, Leuluai. Subs: Freeman, Albert, Davies, Hatton, Farnworth, Walker, Johnstone, Else, Speakman, Walsh.

Half-Time: 12-6

Referee: Mr S Mikalauskas

Attendance: 5,605