Harris rediscovers his form and his sidestep

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

Warrington 36 Sheffield Eagles 26

Warrington could have discovered the key to unlocking the precocious talent of Iestyn Harris. The 19-year-old stand-off, so impressive for Wales in the World Cup last year, has been a disappointment so far this season, failing to take on defences in the way that brings his dazzling side-step into play.

He has been so muted that the word was that a new stand-off was being sought with a view to moving Harris elsewhere.

On the evidence of the partnership he struck up with a new scrum-half alongside him yesterday, that plan should be shelved indefinitely. The Western Samoan half-back Willie Swann started his Warrington career on the bench, but after he came into the game in the 23rd minute with the score 6-6, the effect on Harris' confidence was immediate.

Sheffield put themselves under pressure with a glut of handling mistakes and were soon opened up by Harris for his first try. Three goals from the Welshman's boot took Warrington 10 points clear.

Bright Sodje brought Sheffield back into it, winning the race to Ian Hughes' little kick, but a pass from Swann gave Harris the chance to get that magical side-step working for the try early in the second half that swung the game decisively Warrington's way.

Swann got a debut try of his own, latching on to Paul Sculthorpe's pass, before John Lawless capitalised on a Darren Turner run for Sheffield.

Harris still had a little more fancy footwork in reserve, completely stranding the Eagles defence to set up a try for Lee Penny.

Swann's first appearance, promising as it was, ended inauspiciously when he was confined to the sin bin for holding down in the tackle with six minutes to play.

Sheffield took advantage of their extra man to score tries through Ryan Sheridan and Keith Senior to make the scoreline more respectable, but the new firm of Harris and Swann had already done enough to suggest that they could be at the fulcrum of better times at Wilderspool.

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Kohe-Love, Rudd, Henare; Harris, Shelford; Hilton, Bennett, Chambers, Knott, Cullen, Sculthorpe. Substitutes: Roper, Swann, Sumner, Jones.

Sheffield Eagles: Sovatabua, Sodje, Grimley, Garcia, Senior, Sheridan, Aston, Broadbent, Lawless, McAllister, Hay, Carr, Farrell. Substitutes: Stott, Turner, Hughes, Dixon.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

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