STEVE Price rued several missed opportunities as The Wire fell to defeat at the hands of Super League leaders St Helens last night.

Wolves led 6-0 in a tight, enthralling game going into the final quarter, but with Jack Hughes in the sin bin for leading with the elbow on Tommy Makinson, Saints struck.

Mark Percival and Luke Thompson gave them the lead and despite Jake Mamo scoring to set up a grandstand finish, Alex Walmsley’s late try extinguished The Wire’s hopes.

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Price felt the 11-point losing margin was not a fair reflection on the game itself but highlighted several chances for his side to post more points.

“We had to be at our best to beat them and we came up short in a couple of areas,” he said.

“I’m still super proud of the boys – it was a big effort.

“In big games like that, you get limited opportunities so when you do get one, you have to grab it.

“We didn’t get those little moments you need to win big games.

“They’re a quality football team but the scoreline didn’t really show the game.

“We had an opportunity where Regan Grace came up with that error under the posts – our kick chase could have been better there.

“Kicking on play two down the short side as well – they are clutch plays and you have to make them if you’re going to do it.”

> PHOTO GALLERY: Relentless and intense but Wire fall just short

Wolves were doing a reasonable job of holding a usually free-scoring Saints side at bay until co-captain Hughes saw yellow 15 minutes into the second half.

It was during Hughes’ period off the field that Saints scored their first try through Percival, but replays showed officials failed to spot a forward pass in the build-up.

However, Price refused to make excuses.

“It didn’t look that flash, but it’s done and dusted,” he said.

“We can’t take it back – sometimes you got those things, sometimes you don’t.

“When you’re playing quality opposition with 12 men, it can be quite difficult.

“At the end of the day though, we’ve got to be better than that and we have to defend better.

“I thought we handled that period not too bad – we had to slow the game down but they came up with the try on our right edge.”

Another flash point came early on when young St Helens hooker Aaron Smith was knocked out after attempting to tackle a charging Sitaleki Akauola.

It is the second week in a row that an opposition player has had to leave the field after contact from the big prop, prompting questions over his ball-carrying technique from Saints boss Justin Holbrook.

After the game, Price leapt to the defence of the Tongan.

“There’s nothing wrong with it whatsoever,” he said.

“Some teams have to look at how they tackle. There’s no intent, he’s not raising knees or elbows.

“The game’s been going for more than 100 years with players running in like that – there’s no issue.”

Full video reaction above