Briers bounces back to inspire Warrington win
Warrington 50 London Broncos 10
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Monday 13 February 2012
When a player as recognisable and effective as Matt King departs from a club, there is bound to be some conjecture over what sort of hole he is going to leave.
On the evidence of this, Warrington will not exactly be lacking in strike power. Their nine tries were all scored by backs, two apiece to King's three-quarter line partners last season and two to the recalled Lee Briers.
Briers was left out last week for breaching the club's rules on drinking, but he bounced back as irrepressibly as ever yesterday, having a hand in several tries and then claiming his own brace late in the game.
"He did the best thing to repay his buddies for missing last week," said his coach, Tony Smith. "He showed his intent from the word go."
The Broncos began encouragingly enough, one of their experienced new half-backs, Craig Gower, stretching the defence both ways and the other, Michael Witt, producing the perfect side-step to score.
However, Warrington started to get into their stride when Chris Bridge went over for his first from close range. Then it was time for Briers to mark his rehabilitation.
It was his pass to Bridge that opened the way for Joel Monaghan to score Warrington's second and then put in the kick that Monaghan won to put Bridge over.
The real killer for London, though, was when Olsi Krasniqi went within inches of scoring for them, but the Wolves went instantly to the other end to score through Ryan Atkins.
Even then, the Broncos hit back through Michael Robertson before half-time, but they had no answer to Warrington after the break.
A long Briers pass and sleight of hand from Bridge gave Monaghan his second, before Atkins dummied his way over to match him.
Rhys Evans' break and lovely one-handed pass then released Stefan Ratchford to set the scene for Briers' late double – the latter of which displayed the mesmerising handling for which he is famous.
For the Broncos' Rob Powell, it was all a bit of a big let-down after a promising start. It was all the more frustrating when they generally held Warrington down the middle, only to be caught time and time again by the counter-thrust.
"It's a very disappointed dressing room, because they know they didn't do well enough," he said. "Mediocre is not what we want to be."
Warrington: Ratchford; J.Monaghan, Bridge, Atkins, Evans; Briers, Myler; Carvell, M.Monaghan, Morley, Waterhouse, Westwood, Grix.
Replacements: Harrison, Cooper, Wood, Riley.
London: Dorn; Robertson, Howell, O'Callaghan, Dixon; Witt, Gower; Kaufusi, Randall, Bryant, Bailey, Rodney, Clubb.
Replacements: Melling, Krasniqi, Rinaldi, Cook.
Referee: J.Child (Dewsbury).
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