WCS loss better than an NRL trial: Bennett

Wayne Bennett has pulled no punches about Brisbane’s poor performance in their World Club Series defeat to Warrington but insists the game was perfect preparation the NRL round one clash with defending premiers Cronulla.

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An almost full-strength Broncos team went down 27-18 after the Super League side dominated the first half to lead 24-6 at halftime in Warrington.

The tourists were much improved after the break but unable to claw back the deficit despite tries from James Roberts and David Mead.

“I’ve no complaints they played very well Warrington,” Bennett said.

“They played disciplined and put a lot of pressure on us and we fell apart a little bit and it took us a while to get back.

“At 20-0 I didn’t know where it was going to go. We stopped the flood of points and steadied the ship a bit and made a contest of it.”

Warrington’s success was the first time since 2012 a Super League team has prevailed over an NRL side and there had been questions marks over the future of the competition.

But Bennett insisted he was a fan and believed there was no way he side would have been able to receive a similar test of their mettle in a trial match back home.

“I think we got reminded today what makes you a good team and what makes you an ordinary team,” Bennett said.

“Dropping balls, giving away penalties. They had a 100 per cent ball control in the first half which showed they were doing a lot of things right and we were doing a lot of things wrong.

“But we are going to go into round one a lot more prepared. We know what we have to work on as we got exposed a bit tonight.

“A trial match isn’t going to give you that, which is why I wanted to come out here.”

The Wolves were inspired by former NSW skipper Kurt Gidley and England five-eighth Kevin Brown and former NRL forwards Ashton Sims and Mike Cooper, who were outstanding.

After only 70 seconds they opened the scoring when Ben Hunt’s kick was charged down by Joe Westerman who rumbled 70 metres down the field only to be hauled down 10 metres shy of the line.

However, Brown was on hand to scamper over.

Brisbane struggled to make early inroads and after Dylan Patton’s penalty extended the hosts’ lead they crossed twice more through Ryan Atkins and Matty Russell.

Two successful Patton kicks made it 20-0 in as many minutes before Corey Oates scored for Brisbane on the half-hour mark.

However, on the stroke of halftime Warrington ran in their fourth try when Tom Lineham burrowed his way over.

Brisbane started the second half in a more positive fashion and grabbed their second four-pointer through a brilliant solo effort from the jet-heeled Roberts.

A Patton penalty stretched the lead to 26-12 and Gidley booted over a field goal to ice the result.

Mead grabbed a consolation try four minutes from time but it was too little too late for the Broncos who open their season against reinging premiers Cronulla on March 2.