Warrington winger Joel Monaghan believes the Wolves’ 24-26 win against the Catalan Dragons on Friday was the best preparation possible ahead of Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds Rhinos.
A deluge before the match on Friday night led to some tough conditions for both sides, but the Wolves stuck with it and came out victorious. Monaghan knows they will need more of the same if they are to book a return to Wembley Stadium at the end of this month.
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“Our last few weeks have been pretty poor,” Monaghan told League Express.
“But [against Catalans] we were real good in tough conditions. I thought we came together and played some pretty good footy. At times our attack wins us games, but tonight our defence won us the game. In big games like the Challenge Cup semi-final, defence wins you games.
“We’ll have a tough week. Leeds are always there or thereabouts when it comes to big games. We have a massive week and hopefully we can do the job on Saturday.
“Rain is predicted all next week, so the conditions [in France] will have helped us prepare too. I think we really needed this tough, hard, grinding game ahead of next week.”
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After welcoming back a host of players for the trip to France, Warrington will go into the contest almost at full strength.
“We’ve managed to bring a few boys back, and Trent Waterhouse, Simon Grix and Michael Monaghan were three of our best against the Dragons,” he said.
“Michael was unbelievable. He hasn’t played for ten weeks and he turned in one of the best performances I’ve seen from him since I’ve been here.
“To get these guys back on board, together with Bennie Westwood, who was rested, and a few blokes who are back home will give us a great chance.”