Warrington Wolves player ratings as George Williams masterclass downs Catalans Dragons in Perpignan

Ben Olawumi
George Williams Warrington Wolves Alamy

Warrington Wolves picked up a mightily impressive 16-8 win in Perpignan against Catalans Dragons on Saturday evening, the first side to leave the South of France with victory in Super League this season.

In blistering conditions, it took a huge effort from all involved to get Wire over the line, and these are our player ratings for Sam Burgess’ side…

Matt Dufty – 8

Dufty made a trademark break early on which ultimately came to nothing, and – like every one of his team-mates – had to put a big shift in defensively to earn them the victory. His part in stopping Arthur Mourgue getting over the line just after George Williams had scored the first try of the Round 12 clash was tremendous. A different showing, but another good one, nonetheless.

Josh Thewlis – 8

If we did halves, Thewlis would have got an 8.5 from us. He was really good for Wire on Saturday night, making good yardage early on and earning his side’s first points of the night with an intercept which resulted in a penalty. He converted that, and went four from five with the boot overall. A stellar shift out on the wing.

Toby King – 7

King was penalised for ripping the ball just before the half-hour mark, which didn’t help his side out having already defended for a good few sets on the spin. They survived though, and he recovered from that bit of an error to contribute to a big defensive effort in the second half. He also had a hand in Matty Ashton’s late try, which effectively sealed the deal.

Rodrick Tai – 8

The signing of centre partner Tai is proving a very astute bit of business from Warrington. He steamrolled Alrix Da Costa early on in Perpignan, a carry near his own line which saw the Catalans ace forced off. The Papua New Guinean is so strong when anyone’s trying to get past him, and his lung-busting burst forward in the second half should have resulted in more than it did. Excellent.

Matty Ashton – 8

Thewlis had been the more active winger, but it was Ashton that got on the scoresheet with his try towards the end of the contest, in the right place at the right time to ground in the corner. That had been coming however, and he deserved it for the work he’d put in to that point, both offensively and defensively.

George Williams – 9

It seems to be that we’re highlighting Williams after every game, but he makes it impossible not to with just how good he is. Again, everything good that Wire did, he was involved in. Getting the opening try of the game early on in the second half, he was on his own line throwing his body in the way of Mourgue to deny Catalans moments later. That summed it up. So, so good!

Josh Drinkwater – 8

Half-back partner Drinkwater didn’t really put a foot wrong all evening, letting Williams orchestrate things more going forward but playing a big role in keeping Catalans out throughout the 80 minutes. After an early knock on by a team-mate, he stopped a Dragons man burrowing over, and that set the tone.

James Harrison – 8

Harrison was the man who knocked on in that instance, but he was also in position to stop the Catalans man burrowing over alongside Drinkwater just a few moments later. You’re not getting past him very often, and that proved to be the case. Like the rest of the forward pack, a huge performance overall.

Danny Walker – 9

Walker was sat on a nine until his kick in the last few minutes which Mourgue knocked on. He did that on the 4th tackle of a set, and executed with the boot perfectly, which sort of summed up how important he is to this Warrington team. Williams is involved in everything, but so is the hooker. He’s constantly in the right place at the right time to aid in attack or at the back.

Paul Vaughan – 7

In conditions like those in Perpignan on Saturday evening, a prop’s job becomes even more difficult. Vaughan dropped the ball four minutes in with Wire breaking forward, and struggled to get back onside at points having been warned by referee Chris Kendall, BUT his experience was on show. When on the field, he did his job very well, another absolute monster of a man.

Matty Nicholson – 8

Both second-rowers were tremendous again for Warrington, starting with Nicholson. Defending like the Wolves had to, these type of games aren’t won without your 11 & 12 helping to keep opponents out, and that’s exactly what they did. We’d love to see Nicholson’s official tackle count! His role in stopping Mourgue 48 minutes in can’t be underestimated, either.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon – 7

Alongside him, Australian Fitzgibbon was tremendous yet again, another who just put his body in the right place consistently to stop Catalans getting over. The only reason we’ve put him down to a 7 rating was his discipline, sin-binned for a high tackle in the first half and pinged a few more times by Kendall for various offences. It didn’t cost the Wolves, but it could well have done.

Ben Currie – 8

Very similarly, Currie’s defensive actions deserve high praise too. Notably, he single-handedly halted a Catalans attack just after team-mate Williams had scored the opening try, that an absolutely pivotal point in the game. There’ll have been plenty more moments like that the cameras didn’t pick up, no doubt about that.

Sam Powell (Interchange) – 7

Powell did what he does week in, week out by coming on off the bench and executing Burgess’ gameplan to a tee. He’s another whose experience is clear for all to see and he’ll scramble to help stop an attack at any opportunity. The 31-year-old knows what it takes to be a champion team, and we’re not suggesting Warrington will be this year, but having him around is a huge bonus.

Zane Musgrove (Interchange) – 7

We almost feel sorry for Musgrove because the Wolves’ starting forwards are performing so well, it’s difficult to match those levels when you’re coming on off the bench. We’re yet to really see him put a foot wrong, and he was needed more than ever before tonight given the draining conditions.

Joe Philbin (Interchange) – 7

Philbin’s rating would have been higher had he not been forced off early in the second half with a groin problem. He added impetus going forward when he was introduced midway through the first half, something desperately needed at the time with Warrington camped on their own line. They’ll hope his issue isn’t a serious one, particularly with Wembley on the horizon.

Max Wood (Interchange) – N/A

Correct us if we’re wrong, but youngster Wood didn’t appear to make an appearance off the interchange bench. He was the only change to Warrington’s 17 from last weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final victory, replacing Jordy Crowther.