Rugby League: McCurrie finally pulls his weight

Warrington 33 Castleford 18
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The Independent Online
A WEIGHTY contribution from Steve McCurrie helped to ensure that Warrington kept their revival rolling with an ultimately convincing victory over Castleford.

Early in the season, with Warrington looking arguably the worst team in Superleague, McCurrie seems to be one of their more fanciful signings. His sheer physical bulk makes him an unprepossessing figure in these days of lean, mobile forwards, but he used that bulk to great effect at Wilderspool yesterday.

Apart from his valuable ability to stand in the tackle and slip the ball out as arms vainly try to encircle him, McCurrie also scored two crucial close range tries. His first wiped out an early advantage given to Castleford by Barrie-jon Mather, Lee Briers' conversion and drop goal giving Warrington a lead despite being a man short with Chris Rudd in the sinbin. That lead was improved before half-time by Mike Eagar's try, created by the excellent Briers' run across the defence.

Warrington should really have moved into a match-winning lead immediately after the break, but Chris Morley was caught after Mark Hilton had charged down Francis Maloney's kick.

Castleford, whose recent record against Warrington is deplorable, went instead to the other end, and wonderful handling from Mike Smith and Adrian Vowles sent Mike Ford in for the first of his two tries.

After a Briers penalty, Ford was over again. A kick from Maloney put Castleford back into the lead, but they made too many basic errors to stay there. Within three minutes, Jason Flowers had dropped Briers' kick and Mike Wainwright had hacked on and got a kind bounce to score.

Castleford were overpowered in the last 20 minutes. McCurrie, who was playing centre for Bedford last autumn, again proved too much for their tacklers to handle when he barged over the line and when Briers skipped away from a static defence with nine minutes left, the match was over.

Coming immediately after victory over Halifax last week, this could mark a turning point for Warrington, whose coach, Darryl Van de Velde, was delighted with the scalp of his old club.

"We showed a bit of character after falling behind," he said. "We are not going to go on and win trophies this season, but we can be a side that competes every week. When Steve McCurrie runs the ball he's devastating. It's just a matter of getting him fit, but he's getting closer every game."

Warrington: Penny; Rudd, Kohe-Love, Eager, Forster, Roper, Briers, Chambers, Farrar, Nutley, McCurrie, Tuuta, Wainwright. Substitutes used: Hilton, Doyle, Morley, Fawcett.

Castleford: Flowers; Gay, Critchley, Mather, Wells, Maloney, Ford, Sampson, Hall, Sykes, Smith, Schick, Vowles. Substitutes used: Harland, Tallec, Chapman, Ellison.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).