Finch glad Wigan still in Challenge race - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finch glad Wigan still in Challenge race

James Martin 23/05/2011 03:38:51 PM Comments (0)

Former NRL star Brett Finch admitted his Wigan side breathed a huge sigh of relief after they squeezed into the English Challenge Cup quarter-finals after beating Bradford 26-22 on Sunday.

Bradford played the majority of the game with 12 men after Gareth Raynor was sent off for striking Sam Tomkins in the face.

But the Bulls still pushed their Super League rivals all the way, with ex-Warriors NRL winger Patrick Ah Van scoring two tries and kicking three goals.

But a double from former Wests Tiger Pat Richards and tries from Tomkins, Liam Farrell and Finch, who ran in a superb 75 metre try, gave favourites Wigan a narrow victory.

And although it wasn't pretty, 29-year-old Finch insisted it was a job well done.

"We were very average and very scrappy but the main thing is we got through," said Finch, who lost the 2003 and 2004 grand finals with the Sydney Roosters before lifting the NRL title in 2009 (before it was stripped for salary cap breaches) with Melbourne.

"Maybe there were some nerves with us because the talk all week had been about how we were going to win and then when they went a man down the expectation grew.

"But we are just relieved to get through, even though we didn't play as well as we know we can.

Meanwhile, former Canterbury halfback Blake Green is convinced Hull Kingston Rovers can face the future with confidence - after they saw off Salford 25-0, their third win in a row.

Rovers have been hit by a crippling injury list this term and constant speculation over high-profile signing Willie Mason.

But with Mason finally departing for French rugby union side Toulon, Green, who also had spells with Parramatta and Cronulla, said:

"Hopefully that's the result that kick-starts our season for us.

"It was very pleasing to keep them scoreless for 80 minutes so it was a very good effort.

"Enthusiasm and teamwork needed to be there because we haven't had it all year to be honest. It was a positive sign and I'm very, very happy about it.

"We've been speaking about it in the last couple of weeks and we've been training well. It's been building.

"It's hard to play yourself into some form by just clicking your fingers ... but hopefully we're there now."

Warrington coach Tony Smith saluted record-breaking five-eighth Lee Briers after the Cup holders demolished Swinton 112-0 to march into the last eight.

Despite ex-Canberra Raider Joel Monaghan scoring four tries, Briers outshone the Australian international with a 44-point haul, a new Wolves best.

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