Warrington 26 Hull 14: Briers steers Wolves into play-offs as Hull suffer rare reverse

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The Independent Online

Warrington made sure of their top-six place by inflicting Hull's second defeat in 19 games. The Wolves had been thrashed at Leeds last weekend but against Super League's second-best side yesterday, they followed the lead of their captain, Lee Briers.

Warrington's coach, Paul Cullen, was also full of praise for what he called a "breathtaking" defensive contribution from his full-back, Stuart Reardon. "It was a very strong Hull side, and we won the game fair and square,'' he said.

Warrington fell behind to Paul Cooke's early penalty, but snatched the lead immediately when Shaun Briscoe could not stop Briers' kick-off bouncing into touch. Briscoe compounded the error when Richie Barnett jumped above him to pull down Briers' high kick and somehow force it down.

That was the trigger for Warrington's best rugby for weeks, with Briscoe twice having to come off his wing to make vital tackles.

Briers extended the lead with a penalty after Paul Wood was dumped in a dangerous tackle, and Chris Bridge then showed phenomenal strength to wrestle his way through a three-man tackle and touch down beside the sticks.

Hull would have been in worse trouble if Richard Whiting's last-ditch tackle had not denied Barnett a second after a defence-splitting pass from Bridge.

Warrington went off to a standing ovation, rather than the jeers which they have attracted recently.

Hull hit back after the break when Gareth Raynor scored from Motu Tony's delicate kick to the corner. There was another scare for Warrington when Whiting narrowly failed to touch down Richard Horne's kick, but nerves were calmed when they went to the other end and Martin Gleeson carved through the defence for Ben Westwood to score.

Warrington still had to work hard, and the pressure was on five minutes from time when Tony went in from a long and suspiciously forward-looking pass from Cooke. The possibility was there of Hull snatching a draw until, in injury time, Briers intercepted Kirk Yeaman's pass and added the touchline conversion for good measure.

Hull's coach Peter Sharp said his players "were a little bit comfortable", but that "that was the best Warrington have played for a long time''.

Warrington: Reardon; Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Barnett; Bridge, Briers; Leikvoll, Sullivan, Rauhihi, Swann, Wainwright, Westwood. Substitutes used: Riley, Mark Gleeson, Parker, Wood.

Hull: Tony; Briscoe, Domic, Yeaman, Raynor; Cooke, R Horne; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook, Substitutes used: Whiting, G Horne, Dale, Wheeldon.

Referee: A Klein (Keighley).