Quins RL saw their unbeaten start to the Super League season ended yesterday afternoon at The Twickenham Stoop, after failing to overcome a committed Warrington side.
It was the home side that started the brightest, with Matt Gafa going over under the sticks after six minutes following some slick passing exchanges between Mark McLinden and Scott Hill. On fourteen minutes it was Hill’s turn to power over following some good link play from halves partner Danny Orr. With Paul Sykes adding on both conversions things were looking good for the Quins.
However, Warrington regrouped and within three minutes Great Britain centre Martin Gleeson stood up the left hand side of Quins defence to glide in for the Wolves opening try. Skipper Lee Briers who was to have an off day with his placekicking missed the conversion. Ten minutes later powerful winger Henry Fa’afili went in at the corner, again highlighting a weakness in the left hand side of the Quins defence. With Briers missing the attempted conversion, the score remained at 12 – 8 going into the break despite some strong pressure from a Warrington side looking to get a roll on.
Warrington looked by far the brighter of the two sides in the second half and it was Fa’afili who was to go in again ten minutes after the break. A third missed conversion from Briers brought the scores level at 12 – 12.
The score spurred the Quins on to up their efforts, but despite good intentions attacking the team was unable to put together the combinations to unlock a resolute Warrington defence. Scott Hill in particular was to endure a miserable second half, making some poor choices and on several occasions finding himself out of step with his teammates.
The decisive score came on sixty-four minutes when winger Brent Grose combined with fullback Stuart Reardon to unlock a bamboozled Quins defence. This time Briers handed the kicking duties to Chris Bridges who slotted over the conversion to put the visitors 12 – 18 up.
Quins continued to chip away at the Warrington defence, but too often found a dropped ball or a loose pass ending promising moves. In the last ten minutes Lee Briers began hunting for one of his trademark drop goal, eventually finding his range on seventy-four minutes and effectively killing the contest.
Whilst there is no cause to panic in the Quins camp, Brian McDermott will be rueing his sides tendency to start well but then struggle in the second half of games. The left hand side of the defence appears to be an area of weakness, whilst the coach will be hoping that his side quickly builds a greater understanding with star signing Scott Hill quickly.
Harlequins RL: (12) 12
Tries: Gafa, Hill
Goals: Sykes 2
Warrington: (8) 19
Tries: Martin Gleeson, Fa’afili 2, Reardon
Drop Goals: Briers