Warrington Wolves made a fine start to the Super 8s Qualifiers after hitting back from 14-6 down to claim bragging rights over Widnes Vikings with a 28-14 victory.
The Wolves were tipped to be challenging for top honours this year and they may have been fearing the worst when Widnes opened up an eight-point lead.
But second-half tries from Tom Lineham, Dec Patton, Matty Russell and Peta Hiku saw the visitors home against a side missing key player Rangi Chase.
It could have been a different story had Widnes converted pressure into points after bossing the first half but they could not conjure up the plays at crucial moments.
Tony Smith now speaking to the media. pic.twitter.com/OdVV3Irvf7— Warrington Wolves (@wolvesrl) August 4, 2017
Tony Smith said it showed that two sides were fighting for their lives after his Warrington side saw five different players cross against their local rivals.
"It was a good game and a good contest. There were two teams out there fighting for their lives and it showed," Smith said.
"Widnes had a real crack - it was the best I've seen of Widnes for weeks. They really took it to us. But we have shown character and patience to get past them.
"We felt if we could eliminate the errors we made in the first half and keep going toe to toe with them then we would come up trumps and that is what happened."
Smith was equally pleased to kick off a crucial period with two points.
"It was a good game for us to start the Qualifiers like this," he added.
"We showed desire and a lot of credit goes to the players for that. They have worked really hard this week and we have another tough fixture next week. We ticked the box on the first one.
Ready to go! 💛💙 pic.twitter.com/mE6gyrSLcl— Warrington Wolves (@wolvesrl) August 4, 2017
"It's very important to get the series off to a winning start and both teams showed how important this is. I have huge admiration for my team as Widnes would have beaten many a Super League team on that performance."
Opposite number Denis Betts believes his side need to be more ruthless.
"It was a really tough game and a tough contest until the point where we let them get back into the arm wrestle. We need to take opportunities when they present themselves and if we do that then it looks like a different game," he said.
"Overall it was a good contest and one in which we competed throughout but we make two errors and they have punished us. A side like Warrington can hurt you."