WARRINGTON Wolves seem intent on spoiling the St Helens League Leaders’ Shield party, at least for tonight, as they enter the break with an 11-point lead at Langtree Park.
Shannon McDonnell’s try broke the deadlock but Wolves hit back through Stefan Ratchford, Michael Monaghan, Gareth O’Brien and Joel Monaghan, before Willie Manu narrowed the advantage.
It took the hosts less than four minutes to put the first points on the board as Paul Wellens fed Anthony Laffranchi.
The second-rower offloaded as he span in the tackle for McDonnell to scoot through and finish between the posts. Tommy Makinson converted.
Joint-skipper Michael Monaghan looked to lift his side and watched Ryan Atkins retain possession superbly after O’Brien’s cross-field kick was fumbled by a Saints defender.
Wolves were awarded a penalty near the sticks when Wellens stopped Monaghan from playing the ball at dummy half and it was quickly spun wide for Ratchford, starting at centre, to weave through the Saints line and touch down.
The try scorer was unable to add the extras from the kick.
With 10 minutes played, Joel Monaghan did well to recover and dive on a loose ball after Jordan Turner had kicked through, but was injured in the process by Josh Jones and Wolves were awarded the penalty.
Moments later, with the ball back in St Helens territory, Makinson beat Rhys Evans to Myler’s grubber over the hosts’ line.
O’Brien was continuing to cause problems with his kicking off the last tackle and with 16 minutes played his high kick allowed Wolves, led by Myler, to force full back McDonnell back over his own line.
Wolves’ pressure was beginning to grow and twice in quick succession Myler and Simon Grix very stopped narrowly short.
However Grix, who has endured an injury-hit season, was injured in the tackle and had to be stretchered off to be replaced by Trent Waterhouse.
Ben Harrison was next to be held up short, but from the play-the-ball a superb dummy from Michael Monaghan sold the Saints defence the wrong way and he nipped in from close range to give Wolves the lead. Ratchford converted.
The league leaders appeared rattled, especially when Makinson knocked on a simple catch from an over-hit Myler kick.
It gave Wolves the put in 20 metres out, and after repeat plays worked possession right it was moved back inside for Myler, who found half-back partner O’Brien at speed and his jinking run earned him a sixth try of the season. Ratchford added the extras.
Saints appeared to be shaken and almost immediately from kick off substitute Waterhouse broke their defensive line.
The powerful Australian did not quite have the legs to go it alone, instead passing on to Myler who fed Joel Monaghan on his shoulder to go the distance.
Ratchford added the extras from in front of the posts to give Wolves a 16-point lead after 26 minutes.
Saints hit back shortly after the half hour when Wellens fed Manu at speed before the substitute sidestepped Matty Russell to reduce the deficit with a converted score.
Wolves nearly conjured an instant reply, but Evans was unable to hold Ryan Aktins’ pass wide out.
Evans then thought he had successfully gone 80 metres to score in the corner, but referee James Child pulled the game back for a knock on.
Myler dropped a goal seconds before the hooter to give Wolves an 11-point lead.