Widnes had three men sin-binned as they were beaten 16-0 by Warrington in a pre-season friendly.
With a desire to reduce the number of “on report” decisions made clear by the RFL in their rule changes brief last month, referee James Child sent a warning message out to all clubs in this one.
Cameron Phelps and Joe Mellor saw yellow for professional fouls – lying on in the tackle after breaks by the Wolves – while new signing Manase Manuokafoa was sinbinned for a late tackle on Gareth O’Brien.
Warrington took full advantage, scoring their three tries in each of the three periods Widnes – who only had three men sinbinned in the whole of last season – were down to 12 men.
Ben Currie scored a brace of tries and youngster Toby King added a third after the break in front of a 3,541 strong crowd at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
For the opening score, Matty Russell burst away through the middle, before Kevin Penny was held down by Phelps, who saw the first yellow card.
A tackle later, the ball was pushed left for Currie to cross for the opening try.
On the half hour mark, with Manuokafoa in the sin-bin, Currie twisted over for his second try after a good break by Rhys Evans with O’Brien adding his second conversion for a 12-0 lead at the break.
In the second half, a repeat set had Widnes knocking on the door, until O’Brien intercepted a kick and raced 90 metres only to be denied by Mellor’s superb chase.
The Wolves once again took advantage of the extra space, King crossing on the left.
Neither side looked accomplished in attack, but both coaches were happy with the defensive efforts, as the game finished 16-0.
It was both sides first run out in pre-season. Warrington are next in action against Hull KR in Chris Bridge’s testimonial on January 25th, while Widnes make the short trip to St Helens on January 18th.
Warrington: Russell, Ormsby, R Evans, Wheeler, Penny, O’Brien, Myler, Sims, Higham, England, Laithwaite, Currie, G King. Subs: Westwood, Ratchford, Harrison, T King, Patton, Asotasi, Philbin, Ackers, Walker, Monaghan
Widnes: Owens, Ah Van, Phelps, Marsh, Flynn, Brown, Mellor, Joseph, Heremaia, Kavanagh, Dean, Clarkson, Cahill. Subs: Walker, Hulme, Craven, Gore, Gerrard, Manuokafoa, White, Leuluai, Chapelhow, Whitley