Keiron Purtill pleased with Widnes’ tenacity after Warrington defeat

Widnes head coach Keiron Purtill says there are plenty of positives to take following their 38-12 defeat to Warrington in Ryan Atkins’ testimonial match. 

The Vikings took the lead at the Halliwell Jones through Liam Hood’s try, but Warrington’s class eventually told as they ran in eight tries in total, including a debut treble for former Huddersfield man Jake Mamo.

Despite this, Purtill stressed the improvement his side have made in recent weeks and says that they can be confident looking ahead to their season opener against Halifax.

“I’m really happy with what we got out of the game today,” he said. “Warrington are a quality opposition and I think they’ll be one of the favourites for Super League this year.

“For at least 35 minutes of that first half, we looked the better team. We made some improvements from last week, so all the boxes are ticked for me.

“I think we had about four or five sets on our own line and I was really impressed by the tenacity that the boys showed to work hard for each other and not let Warrington get over the try-line.

“Our completion was good, and our composure was good, so there’s lots of good signs there. We had a few players missing from our starting team and hopefully they can come back in the next couple of weeks.”

The Vikings appeared noticeably more aggressive in defence against their local rivals, with a number of big hits coming in from both sides.

Purtill admits that he is looking for an improved physicality from his side in 2019 and believes that things are starting to take shape at the Halton Stadium.

“They’ve got some big boys, and physically, we did alright for big spells,” Purtill said.

“We’ve got some boys who like to whack in defence, but there’s a fine measure between keeping control of that.

“If we can play quick with the ball and have some whack in defence to slow the opposition down – particularly in the Championship – that’s what we are looking for.”

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