Wolves slay Giants with Briers still up their sleeves

Huddersfield Giants 12 Warrington Wolves 34

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The Independent Online

Warrington produced their best performance of the season, just as their play-maker and inspiration got ready to re-enter the fray.

Lee Briers, out since the start of the season with neck and calf injuries, warmed up with his team-mates as 18th man after playing 80 minutes for Swinton in midweek. Even after a display that he called "our best so far this year," coach Tony Smith admitted that the veteran stand-off is likely to come straight back in, possibly against Salford in the Challenge Cup next weekend.

The surprising thing yesterday was that Warrington should have beaten the side second in Super League so comfortably without him.

Huddersfield's own general, Danny Brough, did not take long to demonstrate the value of his kicking game, pinning the Wolves back with a 40-20, for Luke Robinson's floating pass to put Jermaine McGillvary in at the corner. It was a misleading opening, because Warrington dominated the rest of the first half with four unanswered tries, starting with Mickey Higham burrowing over from dummy-half.

Scott Grix lost the ball in a tackle to allow Trent Waterhouse to pick up and score the first of his two tries. Richie Myler and Brett Hodgson then combined to put the giant second-rower through a gap generous enough for him and his extended family.

Grix's misadventures continued when he got his hands on a bouncing ball on his try-line, only to pass it straight on to Stefan Ratchford.

The Giants' frustration showed in a melee before half-time and, to make matters worse, they had Brough sin-binned for dissent after a separate incident. They managed to avoid conceding further tries in his absence, but were opened up immediately on his return, Hodgson scoring a try to go with his five goals and take him above the 1,000 point mark for Warrington.

The only bright moment of the second half for Huddersfield was a try with his first touch for young hooker Kruise Leeming on his debut, but the Wolves had the last word through Ryan Atkins. "They controlled the rucks a lot better than we did," said the Giants' coach Paul Anderson. "We had a lack of people who really wanted to roll their sleeves up."

Scorers: Huddersfield: Tries McGillvary, Leeming; Conversions Brough 2. Warrington: Tries Higham, Waterhouse 2, Ratchford, Hodgson, Atkins; Conversions Hodgson 5.

Huddersfield: Scott Grix; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Murphy, Dawson; Brough, Robinson; Patrick, Lunt, Kopczak, Chan, Ferguson, Lawrence.

Subs used: Crabtree, Ta'ai, Mullally, Leeming

Warrington: Hodgson; C.Riley, Simon Grix, Atkins, Williams; Ratchford, Myler; Hill, Higham, Wood, Waterhouse, Westwood, Cooper.

Subs used: Carvell, Currie, D.Bridge, G.Riley.

Referee: B.Thaler