Wolves trio have Smith purring

PA Sport
Warrington coach Tony Smith praised Brett Hodson and Lee Briers, pictured, after defeating St Helens
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Warrington coach Tony Smith praised Brett Hodson and Lee Briers, pictured, after defeating St Helens

Old maestros Brett Hodson and Lee Briers were the architects of an impressive 22-12 victory over St Helens that virtually secured a top-two Stobart Super League finish for Warrington.

Former Saints stand-off Briers tormented his old club with a superb kicking game while Hodgson scored the first of his side's four tries and kicked three goals. Wolves coach Tony Smith also highlighted the contribution of England forward Ben Westwood to a fifth successive win that enabled his side to open up a five-point gap on their derby rivals and move to within three of Wigan.

"I thought Lee controlled the game brilliantly, particularly in the second half," Smith said. "He was very, very good. His kicking game was exceptional. He just picked out the right sort of kick at the right time. Hodgo was very good at the back, he was terrific, and got the man of the match but I thought Benny Westwood was unbelievable."

He added: "I had to take him off, I was getting tired of watching him, he was doing so much."

Chris Riley, Chris and Trent Waterhouse scored Wolves' other tries but the visitors also had four disallowed to leave Smith with mixed emotions.

"I'm pleased with most aspects of it," he said. "I thought we were pretty good in our attack, we carried out a plan fairly well. Defensively we very good. We only had one or two lapses. I thought we covered Saints pretty well. Our boys were on the money defensively tonight on the back of a big penalty count.

"We needed to execute a bit better to put the game further out of reach. Some of it was down to execution but some of the video ref stuff I don't get."

Saints went into the game on the back of an unbeaten seven-match run going back to May but they were always second best against opponents running into form at the right time.

"I thought our effort was good," said caretaker coach Mike Rush. "I couldn't fault the boys defensively. They really dug in in that first half when we had no possession.

"In the second half we were disappointing. We came up with errors and gave penalties away on tackle four. We can't keep giving penalties away against good teams on play four because you will get punished and tonight we got punished."

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