Roper runs away with it
Rugby league: Warrington 28 London Broncos 24
Sunday 26 May 1996
The lead changed hands five times in the first half alone, a measure of the balance between the two sides, but Warrington went into the interval in the lead thanks to a brilliant run from Iestyn Harris to score Warrington's third try. The dismissal after 23 minutes of London's centre Evan Cochrane, following an incident that left Warrington's Paul Barrow with a bloody nose and sparked off a mini-skirmish, played its part.
Earlier, both sides had shown that their defence was often wanting, but the backing up that could have turned broken tackles into points was also frequently missing. Pace was a feature of Warrington first try, when Paul Cullen put Jon Roper away; but then they opened up to let Terry Matterson's try lead to an equalising goal.
Broncos took the lead through a left-wing try from Scott Roskell, Warrington snatched it back through Richard Henare after Chris Rudd had made the running, only to lose it yet again after a kick-and-collect solo from Greg Barwick. Then came Harris's try and a half-time score of 18-16 to Warrington.
An equalising penalty came within minutes of the restart, and Broncos, despite the reduction in numbers, found an extra gear. It was fortunate for Warrington that they got their defensive act together, holding off two impressive London attacks before another penalty returned the lead to the visitors.
A brief Warrington breakout saw a long run from Harris create a try for his half-back partner Willie Swann, but after some continuous London pounding, Darren Shaw crashed over. A successful kick from Barwick would have returned the lead to Broncos, but the comparatively easy attempt went wide.
With three minutes to go Warrington were hanging on, when Roper received the ball 10 metres inside his own half, tight-roped down the touchline and beat off three tackles to score.Warrington, against the second-half run of play, had pinched it.
Warrington: Rudd; Forster, Kohe-Love, Roper, Henare; Harris, Swann; Hilton, Bennett, Chambers, Barrow, Cullen, Sculthorpe. Subs: Mafi, Finau, Sumner, Jones.
London Broncos: Barwick; Minto, Cochrane, Struttan, Roskell; Tellett, Dynevor; Allen, Mestrov, Bawden, Gill, Matterson. Subs: Bryant, Rosolen, Shaw, McCrae.
Referee: R Smith (Castleford).
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