Wolves season review 2006
- Published 01/01/06 3:00 pm
- Warrington Wolves archive
Wolves clinch thriller!
by Gary Skentelbery Picture Neil Ashurst
WARRINGTON turned the form book upside down with an inspirational victory which saw them achieve their first ever Super League play-off victory as the golden boot of Lee Briers sank the Rhinos 17-18 at Headingley.
Arriving at the ground just half an hour before the game was due to start after being held up in traffic had little effect on the electric Wolves who were pumped up and ready for action after kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes.
Skipper Briers was in scintilating form and surely must now be knocking on the Great Britain selectors door after an inspired performance, as he slotted the 50th drop-goal of his Warrington career to clinch a breathtaking victory.
Just three weeks earlier Warrington had lost 54-16 on the same ground and had last won at Headingley back in 2002, but they had more power up front throughout the second half and deserved their outstanding victory. Red hot favourites Leeds, who have made the Grand Final for the past three years started fast and were ahead inside four minutes as scrum-half Rob Burrow ducked and swerved under two challenges to score by the sticks, after Warrington full-back Stuart Reardon knocked-on a Burrow bomb.
The Wolves hit back quickly when Briers found a pinpoint 40-20 and moments later Reardon shipped the ball out wide for winger Henry Fa'afili to squeeze in at the corner.
Briers missed the extras and then on 18 minutes Burrow's superb break was rewarded with a try as he found his half-back partner Danny McGuire backing up to race in and score.
Skipper Kevin Sinfield added his second conversion, but Briers hauled the Wolves to within six points at the break with a long-range penalty.
Hard working Warrington dominated the second half and got back in the contest just a minute into the second half when Sinfield hurled the ball into touch deep inside his own half and from the scrum Briers' pass found Michael Sullivan making a brilliant angled run to score on his first play-off appearance.
The Rhinos managed to stretch their lead to six points with two Sinfield penalties but Warrington levelled just before the hour mark, Briers dabbing through a perfectly-weighted kick for Ben Westwood to score by the sticks.
The final quarter was breathtaking and heart stopping as both teams hunted field position and drop-goals.
Sinfield landed one from close range on 66 minutes but two minutes later Briers levelled. Youngster Jordan Tansey sliced an attempt wide from close in-front but the experienced Briers made no mistake from 30 metres with just 90 seconds left But the drama wasn't over as Leeds collected straight from the kick off leaving the Wolves clinging on for a famous victory.
On the final hooter the Wolves players leapt into the air with delight as Head Coach Paul Cullen raced on to the filed to congratulate his heroes.
The 2,000 plus Wolves fans, many who missed the match after being stuck in traffic, were left dancing and celebrating long into the night.
Leeds (12) 17.
Tries: Burrow, McGuire.
Goals: Sinfield 4.
Drop Goals: Sinfield.
Warrington (6) 18.
Tries: Fa'afili, Sullivan, Westwood.
Goals: Briers 2.
Drop Goals: Briers 2.