Rugby League: Briers destroys the dreamers

London Broncos 18

Warrington Wolves 30

THE LONDON BRONCOS have got into the worst of pre-Wembley habits, losing games and losing players in a way that makes them even longer odds against for the Challenge Cup final.

Not only did this result mark a fourth successive defeat leading up to the biggest day in their history, but a succession of walking wounded leaving the game prematurely threatened to make Dan Stains' job at Wembley more demanding than it already is. The main causes for concern were Rob Smyth, in his comeback match and earmarked as the Cup final goal kicker, who was forced off by concussion, and Steele Retchless, the man who scored the winning try against Castleford in the semi-final, who limped off late in the match.

"It's battle fatigue more than anything," said the London coach, remaining stubbornly optimistic that everyone, with the possible exception of Shaun Edwards, will recover in time for Saturday.

Whether they can recover their winning rhythm is another matter. Although London deserve credit for fighting back from a deficit three times against a Warrington team that showed flashes of real quality, they never looked to have the ability to win the match. Nor have they obviously caught the imagination of Londoners, less than 2,000 of whom were bolstered by visiting supporters to make up last night's modest crowd.

"We still have a limited number of Wembley tickets on sale," said the announcement at the end. Limited prospects of success, too, you would think.

Warrington took the lead for the first time inside the first two minutes, Lee Briers' quick tap on his own 20-metre line catching the Broncos unaware and Alan Hunte completing a runaway try. London's first reply came when Glen Air, who will play at Wembley if Stains decides Edwards is not fit, put through a low kick that Jason Roach failed to scoop up, Matt Toshack diving in to touch down.

The pattern of the game was established. Hunte, once more looking a top- class centre, set up Lee Penny to put the visitors ahead again; Karle Hammond's cleverly angled kick created the converted try for Tulsen Tollett to bring the scores level again. Slick handling by Danny Farrar and Hunte gave Warrington a four-point lead via Mark Forster's try before half-time, but London bounced back yet again to lead for the only time soon after the interval. Martin Offiah found a gap on the outside and, in the absence of Smyth, Tollett's kick from the touchline put them ahead.

Within three minutes, Toa Kohe-Love and Scott Wilson had sliced them apart and Roach put Warrington back in front. Tries from Roach and Kohe- Love saw to it that London finally lost sight of the target as Warrington won in style.

Stains was a long way from being downcast by the result or the performance. "Our commitment was first-class across the board," he said. "We just got outgunned."

London: Tollett; Smyth, Ryan, Fleming, Offiah; Hammond, Air; Retchless, Beazley, Salter, Millard, Peters, Toshack. Substitutes: Callaway, Spencer, Seibold, Hughes.

Warrington: Penny; Roach, Kohe-Love, Hunte, Forster; Wilson, Briers; Leathem, Farrar, Chambers, Gillies, McCurrie, Wainwright. Substitutes: Duffy, Hilton, Busby, Knott.

Referee: N Oddy (Halifax).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss