Daryl Powell highlighted the performance of winger Josh Thewlis following Warrington’s 14-12 defeat to Wigan in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.
The 21-year-old winger was the shining light in a disappointing performance for the visitors at the DW Stadium, scoring a try as his side exited the prestigious competition.
Thewlis crossed in the 73rd minute to set up a tense finish against the Warriors, and thought he had scored the match winner minutes later – only for acting half Peter Mata’utia’s pass to be ruled forward.
Despite their disadvantage, with Kaide Ellis sent off inside the opening seven minutes for a headbutt on Stefan Ratchford, Wigan held a lead from the 11th minute as on loan centre Toby King scored against his parent club.
Harry Smith added the conversion, before adding two more from a penalty for an 8-0 score at the break, with winger Abbas Miski scoring in the second half.
Daryl Powell hails ‘phenomenal’ Josh Thewlis
“If Josh Thewlis isn’t on the field it’s probably more than that [8-0 at half-time],” Powell said.
“I thought he was phenomenal today.
“He was our best player by a decent distance. I thought his commitment, his effort, the try-savers he pulled off…everything he did today I thought was international class.
“But we just drained our own tank. We found some energy towards the back end, I thought Dufty started playing really well and George [Williams] was on the ball a lot.
“We started to create opportunities, I thought James Harrison was very good today again.
“But we just continued to not really give ourselves a chance.
“I thought they were exceptional and we were pretty dumb, to be honest.
“I thought we worked hard and found a way towards the back end, but it shouldn’t have come to that.”
Wigan will face Hull KR in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup at Headingley Stadium, while Warrington’s sole focus turns to Super League, sitting second behind table toppers Catalans and a trip to Castleford up next.
Powell continued: “We lost an opportunity, but now we have another opportunity that we need to grab hold of.
“I understand the frustration of fans as well, as clearly that’s not good enough and that’s not the way we want to perform.”