Briers skins the Tigers

Castleford 18 Warrington 34: Stand-off runs rings round Castleford to strengthen Warrington's play-off push
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The Independent Online

Lee Briers showed his enduring value to Warrington by scoring two tries and setting up another as the Wolves drew level with Castleford in the battle for a play-off place.

Briers was responsible for Warrington taking control of a match in which Cas showed some sparkling skills early on only to be overwhelmed by their opponents' relentlessness.

His coach, Tony Smith, is a hard taskmaster where Briers is concerned. He said: "I'm waiting for him to put in a full 80 minutes. But he put on some good plays for us at one stage of the game."

Under Smith, Warrington have not necessarily become better to watch, but they have been harder to beat. Even without their injured scrum-half, Michael Monaghan, they presented a formidable challenge to a Castleford team still licking its wounds from its Cup defeat at Huddersfield last weekend.

Cas opened up with a try, however, that bore the mark of a side confident of its handling skills. Capitalising on the penalty awarded for Ben Westwood's high tackle on Mitchell Sargent, the Tigers put together an intricate passing move, in which Rangi Chase figured twice, before Craig Huby looped a pass for Kirk Dixon to score in the corner.

Their second was even better, again set up by a penalty, this time conceded by Vinnie Anderson for holding down in the tackle. Ryan McGoldrick, Chase, Sione Faumuina and Michael Shenton combined to send Richard Owen over on the opposite wing. Dixon could not convert either try.

Adrian Morley began the Warrington fightback with a charge to return a drop-out and Briers scored from Jon Clarke's pass. Dixon's failure to find touch with a penalty set up the Wolves' second, scored from close range by Louie Anderson and Chris Bridge's two conversions gave Warrington a four-point edge.

Disaster struck for Cas two minutes into the second half, when McGoldrick served up a short pass straight to Briers, who sauntered away for his second try. Three minutes later, he provided the ball for Matt King as Warrington exploited a tap-penalty near the Tigers' line for their fourth try.

Cas hit back when Shenton, called up by England this week, showed his quality with a solo effort, with Dixon kicking his first goal.

Warrington remained in control, though, with Vinnie Anderson scoring from Bridge's little kick and McGoldrick going to the sin-bin for his protests. Anderson was soon over for his second as Cas became increasingly ragged. James Evans' try for Cas was too little, too late and was soon wiped out in any event, by Chris Hicks' long-range interception to underline Warrington's superiority.

Castleford's Terry Matterson was critical of his side's whole approach. "We just want to play footy all the time and we're not good enough to do that," he said.

Castleford: McGoldrick; Owen, Shenton, Evans, Dixon; Faumuina, Chase; Sargent, Netherton, Huby, Ferres, Jones, Clayton. Replacements: Higgins, Westerman, Feather, Widders.

Warrington: Mathers; Riley, Grix, King, Hicks; Bridge, Briers; Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison. Replacements: Higham, Wood, Rauhihi, V Anderson.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).

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