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Warrington Wolves half back desperate to get stuck in against Vikings
LEE Briers has admitted that he is eager to get out on to the Etihad Stadium pitch to deliver a brutal blow to Wolves’ ‘derby’ rivals Widnes Vikings on Saturday, kick off 4pm.
Having been rested for Wolves’ 42-12 defeat of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday, Briers revealed his hatred of missing out but recognised the importance of squad rotation in Warrington’s campaign for Super League triumph.
“I hate being rested, but I am not daft enough or naïve enough to think that it will never happen,” he said.
“My age dictates that it needs to happen sometimes and as a team we have three young half backs who can come in and take over the job.
“But being rested does mean that I am desperate to get out there and play well against our ‘derby’ rivals.”
There has been a general acceptance that Smith’s approach to Super League’s regular season games has changed this year, following the lessons learned from last year’s failure to reach the Grand Final despite being the best performing side across the entire 2011 season.
And there is an argument that Wolves’ additional ‘derby’ match, a third fixture against the division’s weakest team, allows Wolves to rest players ahead of what is likely to be a tough June period that includes games against Hull KR, Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos.
But the inclusion of Briers, Adrian Morley, Trent Waterhouse and Joel Monaghan in this week's squad indicates that Smith means business at the Etihad Stadium this weekend, and while Briers accepts the need to keep people fresh for later in the season, he does not think that should come at the detriment to Wolves’ long-term form.
“I’d rebuke the idea that the ‘derby’ format plays into our hands,” he said.
“This is a ‘derby’ game and everything goes out of the window in ‘derby’ games.
“Widnes are a good side and on their day can beat anybody, so if we turn up with the thought that we are playing the weakest side and it should be easy, then I’ll be stood here on Saturday with a red face because we would get beaten.
“We’re not planning on just peaking at the end and not being good now. That is a dangerous game to play and we want to be at our best right now.
“When you are playing at your best you build confidence and continuity and consistency and that is what we will be looking to do on Saturday.”