Barnett’s late strike for Wolves bursts Rovers’ bubble


NICOLE Barnett’s last gasp try was enough to take the points and settle the nerves for Warrington Wolves in their first Super League game of the season against Featherstone Rovers.

The visitors had pulled back to within two points with just seven minutes left but Barnett’s late effort was enough to seal victory 34-28 and send home happy the majority of a healthy crowd at the Asics Stadium.
The young Wolves had looked home and dry midway through the second half after building a 30-12 but, after powerhouse forward Grace Burnett fell victim to a suspected hip-drop tackle and was forced to leave the field, Rovers’ pack began to dominate and scored three quick tries to set up a nervous finale for the hosts.
Wire started the game on the front foot with stand-off Millie Bell scoring on five minutes. Young winger Rebecca Nixon made a good break down the right and, when Millie Bell’s kick was charged down, a burst down the middle from Burnett helped teenage full-back Anna Dennis to set up Bell for the try.
Featherstone started to grow into the game but great Wire defence, plus mistakes in crucial areas, kept the visitors from replying.

And when Rovers’ full back Danielle Walters fumbled a bomb by Bell, and prop Hannah Watt was pinged for a high shot on Dennis from the resultant scrum, it opened the door for Nixon to fly in at the corner for her first try in Wire colours and double the lead on 18 minutes.
Albany-D Coates extended the home team’s lead five minutes later after more indiscipline from Rovers gifted field position and possession to the Wire, converted by Charlie Magraw for what should have been a comfortable 14-0 lead.
But, far from crumbling, Featherstone began to display some of the spirit which saw them promoted to Super League last season and fought their way back into the game with two quick tries in the last 10 minutes of the half.
This time it was Wire’s discipline which let them down, with substitute Alyssa Courtney benefiting from a penalty from a high shot and finally breaking through the home defence on the half hour. Tally Bryer’s conversion made it 12-6.

Anna Dennis' try

Anna Dennis’ try

Rovers cranked up the pressure and a tiring Wire began to make unforced errors, despite some strong work from skipper Katie May Williams and Simpson. And when Wire were penalised for a rip by Helena Turner with just minutes of the half left, Brogan Kennedy took advantage to reduce the deficit further.
The visitors had done their best to disrupt throughout and the game was in danger of spilling over when Simpson was the victim of consecutive elbows to the face in pulling off a string of tackles, eventually resulting in Hannah Watts seeing yellow just on the stroke of half time.
The player advantage benefited the Wolves early in the second half with winger Abi Johnstone racing in for two quickfire tries to extend the lead to 24-12 and when Dennis sliced through the defence to make it 30-12 on the hour mark it should have been a comfortable last quarter for the home side.
But three quick tries from Courtney, Olivia Grace and Fran Copley brought the visitors within two points and set up a nail-biting finish which saw Nixon ground the ball over the try line for a Warrington try but for the referee to inexplicably pull the game back for a high tackle on the winger, then Barnett find her way to the line in the dying seconds to seal it.

1 Anna Dennis
2 Abigail Johnston
3 Nicole Barnett
33 Albany-D Coates
5 Rebecca Nixon
6 Millie Bell
7 Charlize Magraw
16 Megan Condliffe
14 Jasmine Wilson
10 Grace Burnett
11 Katie May Williams
12 Sammi Simpson
13 Helena Turner
9 Danni Bound
24 Olivia Hill
26 Ellie Jelves
23 Kim Seddon
29 Georgia Bogg

Featherstone Rovers:
1 Danielle Walters
2 Ellie Lamb
3 Fran Copley
4 Ella Johnson
22 Nat Carr
6 Tally Bryer
7 Olivia Grace
8 Shanelle Mannion
9 Charley Blackburn
11 Hannah Watt
23 Ellie Mae Wainhouse
14 Kacey Davies
13 Chloe Billington
15 Chloe Smith
18 Alyssa Courtney
20 Brogan Kennedy
31 Emillie Holmes
16 Gabby Harrison


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