Daryl Powell explains full-back decision plus fitness update on Daryl Clark

Josh McAllister
Josh Thewlis, SWPix

Picture by Paul Currie/SWpix.com.

Warrington head coach Daryl Powell says it was a performance decision that saw Josh Thewlis start at full-back over Matt Dufty against Wakefield.

Thewlis, 21, opened the scoring at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the 32-18 victory, before making it a quick-time brace for an early 12-0 lead against the Super League strugglers.

Mark Applegarth’s side did hit back through Morgan Smith and Kelepi Tanginoa to lock the scores at 12-12 at half-time.

However, a red card to Kevin Proctor was the game changer as Warrington went on reclaim their spot at the top of the Super League table, with further tries from George Williams and Matty Ashton (2).

Dufty, who had started every game until Friday at full-back for Warrington in 2023, was introduced into the game from the bench in the second half in a performance decision made by the head coach. 

Powell said: “I just felt like his [Dufty] last performance was way, way off. I also think that Josh Thewlis is going to be a really good full-back and I wanted to have a look at him there to give us that option.

“Duffs has handled it well and I thought he looked pretty bright when he came on.

“Everybody is accountable for playing well and it was that. But like I say, he took it well, got on with it and he played pretty well I thought.”

Daryl Powell provides injury update

Powell says international hooker Daryl Clark is still at least a week away from returning to action, with Warrington set to host Hull KR next Friday.

The 30-year-old was forced from the field through injury against St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium prior to the international break, and was included in Powell’s 21-man squad to take on Wakefield.

However, the ex-Castleford star did not feature, with Danny Walker starting at hooker. Joe Bullock did make his long-awaited return from injury for the first time since Round Four, while Joe Philbin and Paul Vaughan returned from their respective suspensions. 

“We didn’t have anybody else that we could put in the squad to be honest, other than putting a young kid in there for the sake of it,” Powell said.

“Clarkey is not far off, but he wouldn’t have been right tonight. Potentially next week, maybe the week after.”

Matty Russell and Sam Kasiano also passed their respective head injury assessments during the Round 11 fixture. 

“It was a tough game.”

On the victory, Powell continued: “You’ve got to give credit to Wakefield. I thought they worked really hard to get back into the game.

“Personally I thought we started exactly how we wanted to, everything we spoke about I thought we applied. I thought we just clocked off mentally defensively.

“We shut down a little bit and they ended up getting a pretty smart try and then we started making a couple of errors which allowed them to get back into the game. 

“I thought we were really loose defensively. It was a tough game. 

“Some lessons for us. I think some of the things that we spoke about after the Saints and Wigan games we were better at tonight, but we’d be disappointed with that. It’s not where we want to be.

“I thought Wakefield were really good and where they wanted to be, but we want to be a lot better.”

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