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Wane - Finch had to play
Smith praises Briers on scrum-half's 400th appearance
Wigan coach Shaun Wane admitted his gamble on the fitness of Australian stand-off Brett Finch backfired as his side crashed to a 30-10 defeat at Warrington.
Finch, who missed last week's win over Hull with a hamstring strain, was pressed into action at the Halliwell Jones Stadium but he looked far from fit.
Wane said he was left with no alternative after understudy Sam Powell was ruled out with a back injury and with scrum-half Thomas Leuluai still three weeks away from returning from a broken leg.
"Sam Powell wasn't fit and Leuluai is still out so I couldn't go anywhere else," Wane said.
"Brett is a seasoned pro and I thought he'd have got through it, but he was struggling with it."
In-form Warrington dominated from start to finish against their out-of-sorts opponents to complete the Super League double over Wigan for the second successive season and move to within a point of them with three games left of the regular season.
Wigan never recovered from a dismal start in which they conceded two tries, to back-row forwards Ben Westwood and Ben Harrison, inside the first seven minutes.
"We weren't at the races," admitted Wane. "It was very disappointing. We didn't play how we trained all week.
"Our start was poor. We had a 37% completion rate in the first 20 minutes and that is absolutely unacceptable. The players need to work harder.
"We didn't trust the game plan we had and made too many errors against a quality team.
"To concede 30 points has massively gutted me. The players are devastated and quite rightly so.
"It was a massive game and we were desperate to win but we came up against a team that wanted it more than us."
The only encouragement for Wane was the comeback from a knee injury of goalkicking winger Pat Richards in the Under-20s curtain-raiser.
"I'll look at him tomorrow to see how he pulls up and consider him for next week," Wane said.
Double-chasing Warrington's second win of the season over the Warriors came just five days after their victory at third-placed St Helens and a fortnight before they meet Leeds in the Challenge Cup final.
"It was a good effort, backing up from last week," said Wolves coach Tony Smith. "It was a short turn-around against two very strong contenders in the comp.
"They're a talented team and keep you on your toes right though the 80 minutes but we concentrated well and put in an energetic effort.
"I think the gauntlet was thrown down for our forwards this week with some comments that they weren't going to be bullied but my boys stood up. I thought we were right on the money today."
Storming work from Westwood and Chris Hill set the platform for Warrington's victory while Smith also paid tribute to evergreen stand-off Lee Briers on his 400th appearance for the club.
"That's a great achievement," he said. "He did some good stuff for us. He was probably not at his absolute best but he did enough behind the scenes to orchestrate things for us."
Smith was delighted with the way his team subdued the threat of Wigan's freescoring full-back Sam Tomkins.
"He scares you but I thought we handled him very very well," he said. "We stayed alive for Sam.
"Everybody kept their concentration for when he puts on his big step but, when your forwards are doing a good job in not allowing momentum to go against you, it's easier to handle Sam. Our kick-chase was terrific."Super League. Click here to bet.
Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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