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SPIRIT OF '55: Saints caught off guard by Wolves' ferocity
WARRINGTON'S love affair with the Etihad Stadium continued, once again it was bathed in sunshine and the Wolves fans were the loudest and most numerous.
The atmosphere built up brilliantly to help create an atmosphere of anticipation like a major final was about to be played.
If ever the contest on the pitch was a reflection of the support on the terraces, this was it. Warrington came flying out of the traps and completely outenthused St Helens from the start.
Their defence wasn't perfect, St Helens found a few holes to run through, but there was no doubting the commitment and the desire to impose themselves on their opponents – Saints were seemingly caught off guard by Wolves' sheer ferocity.
The first try came after just six minutes. A fantastic piece of vision from Michael Monaghan meant he was able to break one of the golden rules and attack the blind side and give Gene Ormsby a walk in. The momentum built up from the terraces led to three more tries and an eighteen point lead.
Eventually Saints made something of one of their little breaks through the Warrington line, resulting in Ormsby being sin-binned for a professional foul.
Saints scored one try just before half time and the conversion meant that despite Warrington's dominance the lead was only 12 points.
Despite being down to12 men for the first few minutes of the second half, Warrington started the half even quicker than they had the first.
Three quick tries, all excellent ones starting from inside their own half, but all a little different.
Ryan Atkins and Rhys Evans managed to create and take full advantage of an overlap, then a brilliantly off-the-cuff handling move resulted in Joel Monaghan some how stretching out to squeeze over.
Then Stefan Ratchford produced an exceptional piece of footwork to expose poor defence around the play the ball and a short pass set Matty Russell racing clear for a long distance run to the line.
Saints scored three more tries of their own, all converted and unbelievably they were back within two converted tries.
Ratchford's drop goal eased the worries of a crazy comeback, then Joel Monaghan grabbed an interception to finish off the scoring.
The Saints players, coach and fans were furious with their performance, but I would mention the old saying of 'they played as well as they were allowed to play’.
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