Comfortable for Wire

Rugby League
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The Independent Online
Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

Sheffield Eagles 24 Warrington 38

Warrington have had a hard and not particularly rewarding start to their Stones Centenary Championship season, but even without several leading players they were far too good for a Sheffield Eagles side which did not rouse itself until far too late.

Some dismal tackling and a fatal tendency to fritter away their possession early in the tackle count destroyed any hope of adding to their one win before the first half was over.

It was a dropped ball that allowed Paul Sculthorpe to send Michael Wainwright in for the first Warrington try after five minutes and, although Sheffield briefly threatened to come back through two penalties from Freddie Banquet, the visitors were never in any danger once Lee Penny went over in the 28th minute.

Dave King, Iestyn Harris and Bruce McGuire ran at a weak defence to set up Jason Lee for another and then Greg Mackey was awarded a penalty try and Ian Hughes was sent to the sin-bin for tackling him from offside.

Mackey, who also landed two dropped goals, was capitalising on good play from Warrington's most impressive player, the teenage stand-off Sculthorpe, who had sent Harris striding away.

It was the same one-sided story after the break with John Hough going over after the Eagles defence had been stretched every which way. Lee soon crossed for his second, although Sheffield began to garner some late consolation when their two new signings combined: David Lyon, on loan from St Helens, sending in Banquet.

Darren Hughes took advantage of Warrington easing off with a second Eagles try. Mark Forster kept Warrington comfortably in front, although Sheffield saved a little more face with a first try for the club from Sonny Whakaru and one by Bright Sodje.

Sheffield will not be deluded by their late and somewhat deceptive fight- back into thinking that they will not need to strengthen considerably before the Super League next March. As for Warrington, they would need to perform strongly against much better sides before claiming to have turned the corner.

Sheffield Eagles: Lyon; Sodje, Price (Lawless, 61), D Hughes, Banquet; Sheridan, Turner (Gamson, 61); Broadbent, Jackson, Glancy, Farrell (Whakarau, 47), I Hughes, Carr, (Lawford, 38).

Warrington: Penny; Lee, Harris, Kettlewell, Forster; Sculthorpe, Mackey (Close, 61); King, Hough, Hilton (Chambers, 64), Cullen, McGuire, Wainright.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

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