ON a night that promised so much, this was a brutal dose of reality for Steve Price and his Wire side.

If they aspire to bring trophies back to this town and finally end a six-decade league title drought, there are certain standards that have to be met.

St Helens showed how high that standard is and on this particular occasion, Warrington fell desperately short.

That is not to say this team is not capable of bringing back the glory days – they certainly are. However, Saints showed they are the team to beat.

> 'They wanted it more' - Steve Price's honest assessment of Saints defeat

Just like in their only previous defeat in Catalans, it was the physical side of the game that left them down.

Put simply, Wolves were brutalised up front by a Saints pack in unforgiving mood.

Warrington Guardian:

Wire struggled to handle Alex Walmsley and the other Saints forwards

Hard, straight running won the day as the likes of Alex Walmsley, Luke Thompson and Matty Lees repeatedly steamrollered their way up the field.

Metres were so easy to come by and they eventually made it pay with points.

> All our match action photos from the match

Having said that, Warrington were in the game for much of the first half – they were finding gaps in the St Helens defence and causing problems.

However, one swinging Mike Cooper arm later and all of that changed.

Warrington Guardian:

Mike Cooper's sin-binning forced Wire onto the back foot at a time in which the game was delicately poised. Picture by Mike Boden

Forced onto the back foot, they had to summon up something special in defence to come through unscathed while down to 12 men. Unfortunately, they came up against a side conditioned to ruthlessly expose any shortcomings.

They were 8-6 down when Cooper left the field. He returned with his side 14 points in arrears and it proved too much to recover from.

They had a crack at it early in the second half as Daryl Clark’s effort got their tails up, but an awful misjudgement of a hopeful high bomb allowed Lees to put the game out of their reach again.

> A look back at Wire's night to forget as it happened

Warrington Guardian:

Daryl Clark's try briefly gave Warrington hope just after half-time. Picture by Mike Boden

The two Saints tries that followed – particularly Regan Grace’s long-range effort – were ones you simply had to applaud, rather like their performance as a whole.

Bright spots individually for those in primrose and blue were limited on the field – Clark did his best off a limited platform while Matt Davis showed he was not overawed by the occasion in another decent showing from the bench.

The most praise has to lie in the stands, though, as almost 4,000 Wire fans packed into the away end.

They turned up in superb numbers. What a shame that, for long periods, their heroes did not.


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Super League, Round 10

Friday, April 12, 2019

St Helens...38 Warrington Wolves...12

Saints: Lachlan Coote; Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace; Jonny Lomax, Danny Richardson; Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Dom Peyroux, Zeb Taia, Morgan Knowles. Subs: Joseph Paulo, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Matty Lees

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Toby King, Ryan Atkins, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Declan Patton; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, Joe Philbin. Subs: Jason Clark, Lama Tasi, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Matt Davis

Scoring: Coote penalty, 10mins, 2-0; Austin try, 14mins, Ratchford goal, 2-6; Percival try, 20mins, 6-6; Coote penalty, 24mins, 8-6; McCarthy-Scarsbrook try, 34mins, Coote goal, 14-6; Lomax try, 38mins, Coote goal, 20-6; D Clark try, 46mins, Ratchford goal, 20-12; Lees try, 50mins, Coote goal, 26-12; Grace try, 60mins, Coote goal, 32-12; Coote penalty goal, 61mins, 34-12; Makinson try, 64mins, 38-12

Penalties: Saints 8 Wolves 6

Sin bin: Cooper (high tackle, 28mins)

Referee: James Child

Attendance: 17,078