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Round 3: Briers inspires Wolves comback
Kiwi winger Henry Fa?afili scored a hat-trick of tries as Warrington staged a tremendous fightback to claim their first win of the engage Super League season 46-24.
The Wolves were staring at a third successive defeat when they conceded two tries in the first 14 minutes and found themselves trailing 24-12 after a spectacular 90-metre try from Great Britain winger Gareth Raynor five minutes before half-time.
But the Wolves suddenly found their touch and, inspired by captain Lee Briers, ran in 34 points without reply to condemn Hull to their first defeat of the season, a result that leaves St Helens with the only 100% record after three rounds.
Former Hull winger Richie Barnett helped sink his old club as he got among the feast of tries which warmed a 9,539 crowd on a bitterly cold night at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
But Hull coach John Kear must wonder how it all went wrong after his side made a dream start.
Beaten in both their opening games, the Wolves? gloom deepened in the early stages when they conceded quickfire tries to Danny Brough and Kirk Yeaman, who went on to add a second before half-time to take his tally to seven in just three matches.
Warrington went into the game without four players, including New Zealand Test second rower Logan Swann, who succumbed to a virus sweeping through the club.
And the home side were under the weather from the start as Hull quickly became the first team to reach 100 points in Super League XI.
Their calamitous start was epitomised by full-back Brent Grose, whose fumble enabled scrum-half Brough to touch down for the first try after only six minutes.
The crucial kick had come from loose forward Paul Cooke, who set up Yeaman for the second just three minutes later after former Hull centre Toa Kohe-Love had knocked on in his own half.
The quick-thinking Cooke spotted Grose up in the line at the scrum and Yeaman easily won the race to his kick.
Brought converted both tries and added a 17th-minute penalty to make it 14-0 but it could have been much worse for Warrington, with Hull winger Motu Tony failing to make anything of a clear overlap and Grose getting a hand to what would have been Brough?s tryscoring pass to Richard Horne.
The Wolves made the most of the let-offs, with hooker Jon Clarke beating his opposite number Richard Swain from dummy half to claim a much-needed try midway through the first half.
Briers also scored a solo try, jinking his way over from close range, and he kicked both conversions, but by then Yeaman had taken full-back Shaun Briscoe?s pass to score his second try.
There looked to be no way back once Raynor diffused Chris Bridge?s ?bomb? and raced 90 metres to score, turning his former team-mate Richie Barnett inside out in the process.
But tries either side of half-time from Fa?afili breathed new life into Warrington?s cause.
Fa?afili timed his jump perfectly just before the break to gather Briers? high kick and then finished off a sweeping move involving Clarke and Martin Gleeson to add a second seven minutes into the second half.
A handling error by Hull?s substitute winger Nathan Blacklock enabled the home side to pile on the pressure and it paid off on 54 minutes when Briers and Clarke combined to get second rower Michael Wainwright over for the try which put his side in front for the first time.
Hull visibly crumbled as Barnett finished off a classic cross-field move in decisive fashion and Bridge added try number seven from close range.
Briers, who could do no wrong in a one-sided second half, added a drop goal and then intercepted a pass from former Warrington favourite Sid Domic to send Fa?afili over for his hat-trick try.
Briers kicked his sixth goal from eight attempts and fittingly completed the scoring with a second drop goal, this time from 40 metres, to cap off a magnificent display.
Warrington: Grose, Fa'afili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Barnett, Briers, Bridge, Leikvoll, Clarke, Wood, Noone, Wainwright, Westwood.
Replacements: Sullivan, M. Gleeson, Hilton, Lima.
Hull: Briscoe, Tony, Whiting, Yeaman, Raynor, R. Horne, Brough, Thackray, Swain, King, Radford, Domic, Cooke.
Replacements: Blacklock, McMenemy, Higgins, Carvell.
Warrington: (18) 46.
Tries: Clarke, Briers, Fa'afili 3, Wainwright, Barnett, Bridge.
Goals: Briers 6.
Drop Goals: Briers 2.
Hull: (24) 24.
Tries: Brough, Yeaman 2, Raynor.
Goals: Brough 4.
Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)