McNamara's talk of one-man show fires Warrington

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Warrington Wolves must prove that they are not totally reliant on Lee Briers if they are to win at Bradford this evening and continue their interest in the Super League play-offs.

Paul Cullen's eyes must have lit up when he saw his Bradford coaching counterpart, Steve McNamara, come close this week to dismissing the Wolves as a one-man show. "In terms of his importance to any one team, he is the most influential player in the competition," McNamara said.

It is easy to imagine Cullen, however, using that as fuel to encourage others, like Stuart Reardon and Paul Wood - both, like Briers, put on stand-by for Great Britain - to show what they have to offer.

There is a self-confidence in the team following last weekend's victory at Leeds, according to Rob Parker, the former Bradford forward who made a crucial chase and tackle in the last minute of that match.

"We've got a bit of belief within ourselves," he said. "Nobody can deny how well we played on Friday." Warrington will still be without one of their most experienced props, Chris Leikvoll, while Paul Johnson, earmarked for the Wolves next season, is expected to recover from an ankle injury to play for the Bulls.

After losing a close game at Hull KR last Sunday, Widnes are confident that they can reverse the result if they meet them again with a Super League place at stake in the National League One Grand Final next weekend. Whitehaven, who cannot be promoted, stand in their way tomorrow, but Widnes' home advantage could be a powerful factor, as could the likely fitness of their leading point-scorer, Mick Nanyn, after picking up an ankle injury last week.

In NL2, Celtic Crusaders try to crown a successful first season by reaching their Grand Final and winning promotion. They are opposed by their polar opposites in Swinton, an old-established club with a new feeling of revival.

Swinton finished a modest fifth in the table, but have been impressive in seeing off Barrow and Featherstone in the play-offs so far.