Briers determined to keep Wolves on right trail

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The Independent Online

Warrington's captain, Lee Briers, insists that the Wolves can build on their shock win over Leeds. The Welsh international masterminded his side's 18-17 victory at Headingley in a truly gripping Super League elimination play-off on Friday night.

Now Briers is calling on his team-mates to carry their new-found form into their semi-final at either the Bradford Bulls or Salford Reds.

Briers said: "This is the biggest win I have had by far, other than a Challenge Cup semi-final with Saints. It's brilliant and I do not want it to end here. We have made a pact because we are not going to have the same team together next year. We did not want this to be our last game and we do not want next week to be our last game either."

Warrington arrived just 30 minutes before the scheduled kick-off on Friday night because of motorway congestion, forcing the start to be delayed, and then they quickly found themselves trailing 12-4.

Leeds looked to be on course for a repeat of their 54-16 thrashing of the Wolves just three weeks previously when their livewire scrum-half Rob Burrow scored one try and set up another for Danny McGuire in the first quarter.

But then the skilful Briers orchestrated a superb Warrington fightback, laying on the pass for the substitute Michael Sullivan to touch down early in the second half and kicking to the line for loose forward Ben Westwood to grab another try just short of the hour.

Briers' second goal tied the scores and, after Kevin Sinfield had edged the Rhinos back in front with a 68th-minute drop goal, he slotted over two one-pointers to settle the issue just when the match looked destined to become the first play-off tie to go into extra time.

The captain's second drop goal, a spectacular 45-metre effort, came just two minutes from the final hooter and followed an attempt which was charged down by Jamie Thackray.

The victory, which is only Warrington's third in 14 trips to Headingley in the summer era, ended a nine-match losing run away from home and helped erase the memory of the club's depressing Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat at Hull Kingston Rovers.

Briers argued that a win over Hull, followed by a close-run defeat by St Helens, had signalled a much-needed return to form for the Wolves, who clinched their place in the top six only in the last fortnight of the regular season. "We have been building for this," he said. "It's no point playing well at the beginning or the middle if you're not playing well at the end. It's coming along well."

Meanwhile, Leeds' fifth home defeat of 2006 brought their campaign to an abrupt halt and left them without a trophy for the second successive season.