Rugby

George Williams stars in match-winning debut for Warrington against Leeds

‘Proven winner’ George Williams has Warrington boss Lee Briers purring after stunning match-winning debut against Leeds

Warrington assistant coach Lee Briers hailed match-winning debutant George Williams as a ‘proven winner’ after he kicked a dramatic last-minute drop-goal which condemned Leeds to defeat.

A thrilling encounter saw both sides score four tries apiece and Harry Newman’s brace for the Rhinos appeared to have handed them victory.

But the Wolves’ replacement hooker Danny Walker scored a late try which Stefan Ratchford converted to level matters at 26-26 before Williams’ one-pointer sealed the win for Steve Price’s team.

Briers, the former Wolves stand-off, said: ‘George is a fabulous signing, a quality player, and the club have invested in him by bringing him here.

Warrington's Lee Briers hailed match-winning debutant George Williams as a 'proven winner'

Warrington’s Lee Briers hailed match-winning debutant George Williams as a ‘proven winner’

‘But there’s no pressure on George – he’s a humble kid who wants to work hard and he’s a proven winner.

‘I thought it was a really entertaining game and it was just a case of who was going to grab it by the horns.

‘We knew we were always going to have the chance to win it and I think it was deserved in the end.

‘We turned the ball over a few too many times for our liking. But I thought the guts and character that we needed was there for all to see.

‘We said at half-time it might take 79 minutes to win it and so it proved.’

Warrington, who had beaten Wigan at home on Wednesday, paired England stand-off Williams in the halves with Blake Austin but Leeds began the brighter of the sides.

The Rhinos had won at Hull FC on Thursday, led through Newman and, although Warrington claimed first-half scores through Mike Cooper and Austin, Leeds led 18-12 at the break with Mikolaj Oledzki and Brad Dwyer also touching down.

There was a moment of huge controversy in the 50th minute when Josh Charnley touched down in the right corner.

The winger appeared to have been held up by Dwyer but referee Chris Kendall gave it as a try and video referee Robert Hicks confirmed the score.

Leeds boss Richard Agar could not hide his frustration at the decision, saying: ‘You just wonder what they’re looking at.

‘Robert Hicks was the video referee when we played Catalans in the play-offs last year and Michael McIlorum knocked out Brad Dwyer.

‘He didn’t see the foul and at this point, I cannot see from all the replays we saw that was evidence that the ball touched the floor.

‘I know it went up as a try but there is evidence, from every single angle, that the ball absolutely didn’t get down – nowhere near.

‘How on earth he’s come up as a try I’m just not sure.’

Briers offered his view on the incident, saying: ‘My view is that the ref gave it as a try.

‘We’ve had them this season, so it’s swings and roundabouts. It’s one of those things.’

Newman’s superb second try appeared to have given Leeds victory but Walker’s try levelled matters for Warrington and Williams’ drop-goal clinched the win.

Agar could not fault his players’ desire but he admitted: ‘The way we managed the last five minutes really hurt us.’  


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