10:55am Thursday 5th April 2012
By Christopher Terris Taylor
THIS was a game in which all of the worst aspects of Wolves’ play this season came home to roost.
Panicked attacking, wild offloads, bombed passes and dropped catches, we have seen them all so far this season, but never more so than at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night.
It has been a credit to Wolves’ superb defence and the quality of their star names that they have managed to accrue as many points as they have in the past few weeks, but make no mistake about it this result has been coming for some time.
Wolves, though not as wasteful as they were against Saints, were hardly at their best when nabbing two points at the DW Stadium two weeks ago and were, in a way, fortunate that Wigan’s own mistakes allowed them to stick their noses in front on the finish line.
But Saints were in no mood to waste such a gift and picked up where they had left off following their remarkable 46-6 defeat of last year’s champions Leeds Rhinos a week earlier.
A lightning start put the visitors three tries ahead after just 15 minutes, and even from that early position it looked as though Wolves were in trouble.
The hosts’ desperation to make something out of nothing, even when there was nothing to be made, meant that far too often their attacks fell short and as a result Saints were never really tested until the second half.
Even then, when it looked as though some continuous pressure on Saints’ line would offer a lifeline, Wolves were unable to make their passes stick and ultimately they can have no complaints with the score, which should have been stacked more heavily in Saints’ favour.
There were, of course, positive aspects to be drawn from the wreckage.
Chris Hill continues to look more and more like an inspired signing, with his performance placing him above a pack that obviously missed the work rate of Ben Westwood.
But more importantly, however, as bad as Wolves played against a rampant Saints side in fine fettle, another try in the second half would have possibly swung the match in Wolves’ favour and that must be promising for a team that knows they have an awful lot more to give.
Wolves have three of the current top six percentage kickers in Super League. Gareth O’Brien leads the way after clocking up 88.23 per cent accuracy with 15 successes from 17 attempts while on loan with Widnes, while third-placed Lee Briers has 86.66 per cent with 13 from 15 and Brett Hodgson has 82.35 percent with 14 from 17.
Lee Briers needs three tries to clock up 150 for Warrington.
Ade Gardner has now scored 23 tries in Saints’ last 27 games versus Wolves.
Chris Bridge’s next game will be his 150th for Warrington
March 30, 2012
Warrington Wolves...16 St Helens...28
Brett Hodgson; Chris Riley, Matty Blythe, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan; Lee Briers, Richie Myler; Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Trent Waterhouse, Simon Grix, Mike Cooper. Subs: Micky Higham, Garreth Carvell, Chris Bridge, Chris Hill.
Paul Wellens; Ade Gardner, Michael Shenton, Josh Jones, Francis Meli; Lance Hohaia, Jonny Lomax; Josh Perry, James Roby, Anthony Laffranchi, Sia Soliola, Chris Flannery, Jon Wilkin. Subs: Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook, Paul Clough, Mark Flanagan, Shaun Magennis.
Gardner try, 3mins, Lomax goal, 0-6; Wellens try, 11mins, Lomax goal, 0-12; Wellens try, 15mins, Lomax goal, 0-18; Meli try, 24mins, 0-22; Hodgson try, 38mins, Hodgson goal, 6-22; Joel Monaghan try, 48mins, 10-22; Soliola try, 68mins, Lomax goal, 10-28; Atkins try, 80mins, Hodgson goal, 16-28.
Wolves 9 Saints 5
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