Gareth Widdop: Warrington Wolves half-back earns Steve Price plaudits in win over Leigh Centurions

Steve Price was thrilled with the performance of Gareth Widdop after he helped Warrington Wolves carve out a 44-12 victory over promoted Leigh Centurions.

By his own admission, England international Widdop experienced a low-key first season in Super League in 2020 but he was close to his best as Warrington found their scoring touch.

The half-back scored two tries, along with three-quarters Tom Lineham and Toby King, as the Wolves bounced back from the disappointment of their opening defeat by Castleford Tigers.

“Gaz came up with some very big plays on that left-hand side,” said Price. “He’s feeling really good about himself.

“He’s a fantastic guy and a fantastic rugby league player to go with it. What happened last year is way behind us, what we can control is the present and it’s a credit to him for how he’s carrying himself.

“Scoring eight tries to two is very pleasing, we’ll build off that. There’s lots of positive stuff and that’s the standard as a group, we want to keep improving.”

Price gave a debut to ex-London Broncos prop Rob Butler and says fans could get their first sight of former Australian Test centre Greg Inglis in next week’s Challenge Cup tie against Swinton Lions.

Leigh head coach John Duffy shouldered the burden for his side’s defeat, feeling they failed to put what they had worked on in the build-up into practice.

The Centurions trailed 28-0 early in the second half prior to scoring tries through Adam Sidlow and Ryan Brierley and Duffy was disappointed with their overall performance.

“We didn’t throw anything at them like we practised in the week and I’ve got to take that on my shoulders as head coach,” Duffy said.

“When we did in bits in the second half, we created some problems, but we didn’t put enough pressure on their pivots.

“The mood is a bit sombre, but we’ve got to stick together. We knew how tough it is going to be this year. It’s only Round 2 so there’s a long way to go.”

After pushing Wigan all the way in their opening game, this was a reality check for the Centurions, who are still assembling their squad following their sudden elevation to the top flight.

They were not helped by Matty Russell turning his ankle, which will see him undergo a scan on the injury, although Ben Flower is set to make his first appearance in the Challenge Cup tie with Huddersfield Giants.

Duffy threw stand-off Ben Reynolds straight into his starting line-up following his sudden return to the club from Toulouse Olympique and admits it will take for him to get up to speed.

“It was a tough ask when you’re playing a quality side like Warrington,” Duffy said. “Obviously he was a bit rusty, but he will get better, he will be good for us.”

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