Daryl Powell pays tribute to departing Thomas Mikaele following final appearance

Josh McAllister
Thomas Mikaele, Warrington Wolves. News Images

Photo by Steve Flynn/News Images.

Warrington head coach Daryl Powell has paid tribute to departing Thomas Mikaele, who played his final game for the club in their 34-6 victory over Hull in Super League.

Mikaele, 25, will return to Australia on compassionate grounds and will link up with the Gold Coast Titans for the rest of the NRL season.

His appearance against Tony Smith’s Black and Whites at the Halliwell Jones Stadium was his 18th and final in Super League, having made the mid-season switch in 2022 from Wests Tigers.

Mikaele has featured in all seven of Warrington’s games so far this season, scoring three tries as the side remain unbeaten in 2023.

“Sometimes these things happen. I’m really disappointed to lose him, I think he’s grown immeasurably really as a bloke and as a player since we came back from camp,” Powell said.

“The first part of the season, he’s been outstanding for us.

“He’s been that strong that he’s going to be a miss for us. What we do moving forward, we’re not 100% sure yet.

“But what we have is a middle unit that is big, physical and committed to what we’re doing that’s going to challenge any team.

“We’re going to need them over the next three weeks as we know what’s coming and they’re the stiffest games that we’ll have faced so far, and we need to show how good we are.”

Powell praises side’s first half display

The Super League leaders maintained their unbeaten run in 2023 with the win over Hull in front of a crowd of 10,797.

Matty Ashton opened the scoring against a struggling Hull outfit, followed by first half tries from Peter Mata’utia, Ben Currie, Matt Dufty and Josh Drinkwater for a 28-0 lead at the break.

Powell’s side took the foot off the gas in the second 40, only crossing for one more four-pointer through Matty Nicholson, while conceding a try to Brad Dwyer.

“Some of the things we did in the first half were class and our try-line defence was pretty good,” Powell said.

“The starts to our games have been outstanding.

“I think every rugby league team will say they want to start well and that’s where your confidence comes from because chasing games is not a place you want to be.

“I think it’s great when you know your team can go bang bang and score points and sometimes I would like us to be a bit more ruthless but that’s an evolution of this team which we will keep working on.

“When we built the scoreline up to half time that’s a real drainer for the opposition’s confidence.

“I thought our second half was disappointing in general and we were pretty loose in general. We played like the game was won and they stepped up and improved.

“But it’s probably a good thing for us, sometimes you need a smack on the nose to straighten you up again and if we had racked up 60 or 70 points it wouldn’t have been ideal going into the next few games we are going to be faced with.

“We are coming into a pivotal three tough games (Catalans, Wigan and St Helens) and I still think there is plenty of improvement in us.”

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