Briers lifts Warrington to surprise win at Hull

Hull 16 Warrington 19
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The Independent Online

Warrington, without a win since the opening day of the season, dragged themselves off the foot of Super League with an unlikely but richly deserved victory at the Boulevard.

Lee Briers was the key man as Hull, bidding to go second in the table, were outplayed on a ground they have made so unwelcoming for opposing sides.

In the first game since the departure of their performance director, Steve Anderson, was announced and just about all the Wolves lifted their performances to heights unseen this year.

"It's bought us a bit of breathing space," said David Plange, who was under pressure going into this match – only his third in charge. "It might not have been pretty, but it got us the result. Our defence was excellent for 90 per cent of the time. It was a massive improvement."

Warrington looked the more enthusiastic and better organised side from the start and took the lead when neither Steve Prescott or any of his team-mates reacted in time to stop Leroy Rivett picking up and running away to score.

The former Warrington centre, Toa Kohe-Love, brought Hull level by going through some indecisive tackling, but otherwise the Wolves held firm as players like Jason Smith and Richard Horne struggled to make their mark on the game.

Before half-time, Briers put over two drop goals – a shrewd tactic under the circumstances and he stretched the lead further with a penalty after the break.

Briers missed three further drop goal attempts as Warrington continued to plug away with a tactic rarely seen in the game these days, but he did succeed with one to make it a hat-trick.

They looked to have a winning lead when Matt Rodwell, much criticised in his first three months at the club, but a big influence on this game, kicked for the corner and Hull made another expensive mistake, Matt Crowther spilling the ball and allowing Rodwell to dive in and score.

Rodwell's departure for 10 minutes in the sin bin, for holding down Prescott after Gareth Raynor had made a threatening break, put Warrington under pressure in the closing stages.

That pressure intensified when Deon Bird's break sent Chris Chester in, but Briers gave them a cushion when he intercepted from Chester for a try to complete a crucial personal tally of 11 points.

There was still time for a late scare when Graham Mackay scored in the last minute, but Warrington hung on for the two points they had earned.

It was hardly an appropriate way for the Hull coach, Shaun McRae, to celebrate his 200th game in Super League but he admitted there had been no miscarriage of justice.

"We were totally outfought and outmanoeuvred," he said. "People were expecting that we would win and win comfortably, but they forgot to tell Warrington that."

Hull: Prescott; Raynor, Kohe-Love, Mackay, Crowther; Horne, J Smith; Greenhill, Jackson, King, Maher, Ryan, Cooke. Substitutes: Bird, T Smith, Logan, Chester.

Warrington: O'Reilly; Smyth, Burns, Alstead, Rivett; Briers, Rodwell; Laughton, Clarke, Fozzard, Marquet, Guisset, Domic. Substitutes: Hilton, Sturm, Noone, Hulse.

Referee: P Taberner (Wigan).

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