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Challenge Cup: Tony Smith savours Warrington Wolves victory over Salford
It's terrific to have him back. It was a bit of fairytale start for him again. I think he just slotted into what was a very good performance.
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Warrington coach Tony Smith welcomed the return of Lee Briers as the Tetley's Challenge Cup holders swept aside Salford 52-6 in the fifth-round tie at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The veteran stand-off, who has been out since February with neck and calf injuries, scored his 149th try for the club just three minutes after entering the action as a second-half substitute to apply the finishing touches to an comfortable victory.
The former Wales international also went on to kick the 1,000th goal of his career, while former Salford favourite Stefan Ratchford and winger Joel Monaghan both scored two tries and full-back Brett Hodgson contributed 18 points as Warrington stayed on course for a fourth trip to Wembley in five years.
"It's terrific to have him back," Smith said of the 34-year-old Briers. "It was a bit of fairytale start for him again.
"I think he just slotted into what was a very good performance.
"Our defence has been improving each and every week over the last number of weeks, but I thought our attack was outstanding considering the conditions. We came up with some wet-weather rugby league.
"I thought we handled the conditions and handled our opponents well. They were going to have to do some spoiling in order to compete, but we dealt with that okay I reckon."
Salford, still finding their feet under new coach Brian Noble, never threatened to cause an upset and trailed 24-0 at half-time, although a 65th-minute try from winger Jodie Broughton enabled them to prevent a whitewash.
"I thought we contributed early to some of the tries that Warrington scored," Noble said.
"I'm sure when we show them the pictures it won't make great viewing, but I have to pay credit to Warrington, who were physically better than us. We were outgunned today."
Noble admits the scale of today's defeat indicated the size of his task as looks to turn around the fortunes of the City Reds, who are currently bottom of Super League.
"Today's game was probably a reflection of where we're at," Noble said. "I'm not shocked by anything. In the short term we've got to go backwards to take steps forward."Tournament Winner 2013. Click here to bet.