SATURDAY was a day in which The Wire felt the cold hand of reality slap them brutally around the face.

If they were not acutely aware of how big a task faces them in their bid to reach Old Trafford, they will be now.

In truth, Wolves competed reasonably for most of the game despite the loss of half-backs Tyrone Roberts and Kevin Brown to injury early on.

However, a spell of three tries in six second-half minutes broke the game and allowed Saints to lay down a marker ahead of the October 4 semi-final showdown.

They can reflect on a job well done, but The Wire are left to ponder why the same shortcomings keep letting them down against their top-four rivals, namely game management and last-tackle plays.

There were mitigating circumstances as first Roberts and then Brown were taken off. Any team would struggle to cope with the loss of their two key playmakers within the first half-hour of the game.

Even so, there was little structure to what Warrington produced in attack, meaning it was all too easy for Saints to defend.

There were 10 minutes in which The Wire had the chance to attack 11 men after Matty Lees was sin-binned when his knee made contact with Roberts’ skull, with Mark Percival following him for his part in the mass brawl that followed.

Ryan Atkins was also in the bin and thus Wire did not have a full complement of players, but they still should have made more of that period.

Perhaps the outcome would have been different if they had, but it was not to be.

What will also be of concern to Steve Price will be the ease in which Saints scored their tries.

They broke the line with regularity and were allowed to get their offload game going, aided by some truly shocking one-on-one tackling from Wolves.

If this happens at the Totally Wicked Stadium when these sides next meet, it will more than likely end The Wire’s season.

Before then, they have their final Super 8s game at Wakefield to negotiate and it leaves the head coach in a quandary.

There are bodies that need protecting, but at the same time The Wire will not want to go into the semi-finals on the back of three straight defeats.

All things considered, there is a lot to work on if Price’s men are to have a chance of overhauling Super League’s dominant force and reach the Grand Final.


. Wire’s final home game of 2018

. 20 points is Wolves’ heaviest margin of defeat in a home game this season

. Stefan Ratchford makes his 250th career appearance in Super League


Super 8s, Round Six

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Warrington Wolves…14 St Helens…34

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Ryan Atkins, Toby King, Bryson Goodwin; Kevin Brown, Tyrone Roberts; Chris Hill, Declan Patton, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Bodene Thompson, Ben Westwood. Subs: George King, Harvey Livett, Joe Philbin, Morgan Smith.

Saints: Ben Barba; Tommy Makinson, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Regan Grace; Jonny Lomax, Danny Richardson; Luke Thompson, Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees, Zeb Taia, James Bentley, Jon Wilkin. Subs: Theo Fages, Luke Douglas, Dom Peyroux, Jack Ashworth.

Scoring: Richardson penalty, 5mins, 0-2; Brown try, 23mins, Patton goal, 6-2; Douglas try, 33mins, Richardson goal, 6-8; Grace try, 40mins, 6-12; Lomax try, 52mins, Richardson goal, 6-18; Richardson try, 54mins, Richardson goal, 6-24; Barba try, 58mins, 6-28; T King try, 65mins, 10-28; Barba try, 76mins, Richardson goal, 10-34; Goodwin try, 78mins, 14-34

Penalties: Wolves 9 Saints 6

Sin bin: Lees (13mins, dangerous tackle); Percival (13mins, fighting); Atkins (13mins, fighting)

Referee: Chris Kendall

Attendance: 10,747