Warrington 54 London Broncos 20: Dixon dazzles but Wolves have too much in the tank
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.
The Halliwell Jones Stadium
Tuesday 02 April 2013
London Broncos' exciting winger Kieran Dixon kept his novice side in this game until half-time, but could not do it for a full 80 minutes.
Dixon scored a brilliant first-half hat-trick of tries, taking his tally to eight for the season, and just for a while had the title favourites worried. "He's a wonderfully talented player," said his coach Tony Rea. "And it was good to see him still pushing at the end."
Rea showed what he felt about the two-match Easter programme by fielding two debutants and resting seven members of the team that gave a good account of themselves in the 30-24 defeat to the Catalan Dragons on Thursday. Warrington moved in the opposite direction, recalling three players left out for Friday's 38-22 defeat by Widnes.
It was the young Broncos, however, who made the better start, with Dixon registering a typically spectacular first try. London were then opened up rather too easily for tries by Joel Monaghan and Rhys Williams, before some magical handling set up Dixon for his second.
Another quick-fire brace, this time from Chris Bridge, kept the Wolves in control, but Dixon raised the visitors' morale with his third superb finish after characteristically creative play from Michael Witt.
"It was an even contest up to half-time and they gave us plenty to think about," said the Warrington assistant coach, Willie Poching, but he and his boss, Tony Smith, saw their Wolves take complete control of the contest in the second half.
Brett Hodgson began it, dummying his way through for a try to go with his seven goals. The busy Stefan Ratchford weighed in with two touchdowns, Monaghan and Williams both claimed their second and the hugely promising young forward Ben Currie also joined in the fun as the Wolves got the shock defeat at Widnes well and truly out of their system.
It was somehow fitting though that one of London's new boys should have the last word, Erjon Dollapi crossing for the game's last try.
He and fellow debutant James Woodburn-Hall, who was at a school party when he heard he was playing, were both adjudged to have made outstanding contributions by Rea, but Warrington just proved too strong.
Warrington Hodgson; Williams, Bridge, Atkins, J Monaghan; Ratchford, Myler; Wood, M Monaghan, Hill, Waterhouse, Westwood, Grix. Substitutes used Carvell, Harrison, Cooper, Currie.
London Broncos Hurst; Colbon, Channing, Melling, Dixon; Witt, Woodburn-Hall; Cook, Randall, Krasniqi, McMeekan, Lovell, Kaufusi. Substitutes used Wheeldon, Fisher, Dollapi, Grady.
Referee R Silverwood.
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