WOLVES needed to have been much better in most aspects of their play in order to beat clinical St Helens on Friday.

Performances continue to be haunted by an unfavourable penalty count, some sloppy error making as well as the lack of a cutting edge.

That bit them in the final quarter as the fuel tank headed towards empty and the league leaders put the game out of their reach with the kind of smart plays The Wire just don’t seem to have in their armoury at the moment.

In the circumstances of the territorial and possession dominance enjoyed by Saints, especially in the second half, credit Wolves for still being in the hunt on the scoreboard for as long as they were.

That was down to the commitment in defence and, probably more so in the first half, an effective kicking game from Kevin Brown and Tyrone Roberts.

But Saints always looked the likeliest team to run out winners in a second half that started with two poor Wire mistakes leaving Price’s men on the backfoot.

In hooker James Roby, young scrum-half Danny Richardson and full-back Ben Barba, Saints had players who knew how to break down The Wire’s resolve.

And in the end the danger came from where it was expected, on Saints’ left where the creative trio eventually picked The Wire apart and centre Mark Percival cashed in with a hat-trick of tries.

Bags of effort, like that on show from Warrington, is not enough to win Super League matches, especially when much of it comes at the wrong end of the field.

A successful team needs players who can produce a little bit of magic when it is needed, or at least capitalise on pressure when it is applied.

The Wire did enough pressing in the first half to have established themselves a lead but the only time they looked like scoring, as in previous games, was from a kick.

Roberts’ accuracy with the boot was rewarded with a try in each half from Toby King and Harvey Livett.

But it was not exciting to watch and it did not build confidence on the terraces that The Wire had it in them to win the game.

The rush to the exits before the final hooter told its own story.


. Most points conceded by Wolves this season

. Ryan Atkins’ 350th career appearance

. First Wire appearance of 2018 for Harvey Livett


Super League, Round Five, Friday, March 9, 2018

Warrington Wolves…12 St Helens 30

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Mitch Brown, Ryan Atkins, Toby King, Tom Lineham; Kevin Brown, Tyrone Roberts; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jack Hughes, Ben Westwood. Subs: Dom Crosby, Joe Philbin, George King, Harvey Livett.

Saints: Ben Barba; Adam Swift, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, Regan Grace; Jonny Lomax, Danny Richardson; Kyle Amor, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dominique Peyroux, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Subs: Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, Luke Douglas, Matty Lees.

Scoring: Percival try, 5mins, Richardson goal, 6-0; Toby King try, 25mins, Ratchford goal, 6-6; Richardson penalty goal, 30mins, 6-8; Roby try, 42mins, Richardson goal, 6-14; Livett try, 53mins, Ratchford goal, 12-14; Percival try, 59mins, 12-18; Percival try, 67mins, Richardson goal, 12-24; Richardson try, 88mins, Richardson goal, 12-30.

Penalties: Wolves 6 Saints 12.

Referee: James Child.

Attendance: 12,268.

Top man (Guardian readers’ vote): Ben Westwood.