Briers to step into breach after breaking the rules
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.
Sunday 12 February 2012
Lee Briers' latest misdemeanour will be forgiven and forgotten if he makes a successful return to Warrington's team this afternoon.
The 33-year-old playmaker was left out of the side at Hull last weekend after admitting to a "relatively minor" breach of the club's guidelines on preparing for matches. The Wolves, many people's favourites to win Super League this season, kicked off their campaign with a disappointing draw at the KC Stadium.
It was precisely the sort of game Briers has won for them so often in the past, so it would be surprising if he was not recalled for the visit by the London Broncos today. His coach Tony Smith, while stopping short of giving him any guarantees, dropped heavy hints this week that his exile is likely to be a brief one.
"It was disappointing, as it always is with disciplinary issues," Smith said. "But we all make mistakes in our lives, as long as people understand their misdemeanours and don't shirk the responsibility. You would hope that he would go out there and show his team-mates that he is sorry for his breach. The best way he can do that is by playing good rugby league."
The renamed and rebuilt Broncos showed potential in their opening game last weekend, leading St Helens at half-time. Their key man was the former Australian league and Italian union international Craig Gower, who will find a familiar face in the Warrington ranks in his ex-Penrith team-mate Trent Waterhouse.
The biggest success of the first weekend of Super League was arguably Huddersfield, who won more convincingly than the scoreline shows at Wigan, despite having eight first-teamers missing.
Their coach, Nathan Brown, could have as many as five fit to return against Widnes today. The newly promoted Vikings had a reality check when they were soundly beaten by Wakefield in their first game back in Super League last Friday.
That was an impressive effort by Trinity, considering they have a new coach, Richard Agar, and virtually a new team. They will try to build on their good start at home to Hull KR.
Rovers looked solid for most of their game at Leeds before going down 34-16. They are still without their stand-off Blake Green at Belle Vue.
Castleford, fresh from a bright start in the Salford snow, are at home to Bradford, who looked set for another season of struggle if their performance against the Catalan Dragons in their opening game was any guide.
Several fixtures in the first round of the Northern Rail Cup could be vulnerable to the weather. Early casualties were York v Swinton and London Skolars v Toulouse. Paul Cooke – formerly of Hull and Hull KR – is set to make his debut for Doncaster at Gateshead.
Other interesting games are at Dewsbury, with Halifax the visitors, and Leigh, who host Barrow.
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