Rugby League: Briers keeps Hull rooted to the bottom

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The Independent Online
LEE BRIERS' dead-eye kicking display helped to keep Hull at the foot of Super League yesterday. Briers kicked eight goals as Warrington beat the Sharks 32-12 at Wilderspool.

Toa Kohe-Love also scored his 26th try of the season as Hull remained two points behind next-to-bottom Huddersfield. The Hull coach, Steve Crooks, blamed past and present management of the club for a dispute that has brought his players to the brink of the strike. The Sharks players, angered by the decision of the owner, David Lloyd, to slash wages, agreed to go ahead with the match at Warrington and will take up their argument with club officials on Tuesday.

"It makes a massive impact on an employee when, at the last minute, his finances are altered," said Crooks. "I don't think the club handled it in the best way. I've got to give credit to the players for their attitude.

"We were making headway but this has been undermined by the actions of our owner this week, although I have some sympathy for him. He put his trust in the wrong people and has been repaid with disloyalty and rank bad management."

Castleford beat London 52-16 at Wheldon Road. Francis Maloney scored a hat-trick of tries, while Brad Davis and Mike Eagar both crossed twice as the Broncos crashed to their second defeat in five days.

Bradford's eighth win in a row, 58-20 against Salford City, saw the Bulls move seven points ahead at the top of Super League. The Bulls scored 11 tries, with two each for Jamie Peacock, Stuart Spruce and Michael Withers at The Willows.

Richie Blackmore crossed twice on his first league appearance of the season as Leeds leapfrogged Wigan and moved into third spot with a 34- 10 victory at Wakefield.

The Rhinos ended the game as a contest by cruising into a 22-0 half-time lead and Blackmore, back after recovering from a groin injury, made the perfect return to action.

Sheffield took advantage of Halifax's poor defence to win 43-24 at The New Shay. Keith Senior and Rod Doyle both crossed twice as the Eagles added to the woes for the cash-strapped Blue Sox.

The Sheffield coach, John Kear, was full of praise for the Eagles after two tries apiece from Keith Senior and Rod Doyle earned them a 43-24 win against Halifax. Kear believed that his use of the substitutes helped turn the game.

"It was a roasting day and if you have sat in the stand you can make decisions to switch players round as often as you need to," said Kear. Gary Mercer [Halifax's player-coach] was on the pitch and it is very difficult when you are in the midst of the game to analyse what needs to be done. I have respect for Mercer because his side battled well despite the scoreline - but that was our best performance for an age."