Francis Meli

In the game of rugby league, it only takes one incident to go against you and the whole game changes – and for Widnes, that was the case, as the Vikings went down to 11 men at one stage, after Ben Cross was sent off for a high shot and Jon Clarke went to the sin-bin for his part in the melee that followed the high shot.

Before that incident, the game was evenly poised at 4-all, with Widnes believing that they had a real chance to win the game, but overall, Widnes coach Dennis Betts was pleased with the way his side performed across the board.

“I thought there were two good teams out there,” Betts said.

“I thought we had a chance of winning the game.

“It was one of those tough days to be really skilful but I thought we had the better opportunities.

“It was only when we were down to 11 men that they really got some opportunties to score tries and they did.

“I’m really proud of my team. I thought we played better this week than we did last week.

“When it turns into 11 versus 13 it becomes very tough. We defended really well with 11 blokes actually.”

Following their disappointing opening round game that saw them thrashed 40-4, St Helens coach Nathan Brown was pleased with the way his side responded, particularly their defence.

“I was confident because our defence was so good,” he said.

“I didn’t think they looked like scoring. I thought we were on top at that stage.

“It’s good to get a win. I was happy with our effort and our defence. Our defence was far far better than last week.

“I thought the opposition ripped in. They played really well and, if we had the same commitment as last week, we would have got beat, without a shadow of doubt.”

The win was marred by injuries to Josh Perry, Jonny Lomax and Lance Hohaia – compounded by the fact that usual starting hooker James Roby did not play the game, due to a foot complaint.

“Robes could have played at a push but it wasn’t worth risking him,” Brown added.

“We lost Josh early and lost Jonnny Lomax and Lance during the game and we had to move people around but those things happen and, when your effort and commitment are good, you give yourself a chance.”

Whilst he had no qualms with the decision to send off Ben Cross for his part in the brawl, Betts was surprised that more players were not sent to the bin, as a result of the ensuing melee after the tackle.

“There were plenty of other people who got involved,” he said. “If he was going to get the cards out, which he obviously wanted to, it should have been 11 against 11.

“He’s a really good referee but sometimes you have a bad one and I thought today he was poor at times.”

By ricky

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