LIKE any Warrington Wolves fan, Karl Fitzpatrick would have been purring at what he saw in his side’s first home game of the 2020 season.

So often, the “matchday experience” he has been pushing has stopped when the rugby started. Not on this occasion.

The fire cannons and lasers were not the most dazzling things on display – that honour belonged to those bedecked in primrose and blue.

Yes, Saints were without four key players. Yes, one more withdrew in the warm-up and yes, another was forced off injured.

Champion teams do not let that kind of thing derail them, however. They press on regardless but on this night, they were not allowed to.

And besides, it would be unfair to take away from arguably The Wire’s best Super League result and performance under Steve Price’s tutelage.

From minute one, there was a drive to build upon the foundations laid in defeat with 12 men at Wigan the previous week but it was clear another gallant loss while second-favourites would not be accepted.

The pack – shorn of co-captains Chris Hill and Jack Hughes – trampled all over their counterparts.

Mike Cooper and Joe Philbin set the tone, Ben Murdoch-Masila terrorised Saints’ left edge and there were more minutes than we have become used to for Sitaleki Akauola.

Warrington Guardian:

That set the tone for more adventurous play with the ball – Josh Charnley’s try came from the sort of set handling move supporters have been crying out for more of.

They were not afraid to try things – offloads, blind-side plays, even short drop-outs. They did not always come off, but the confidence to give it a go is such a good sign.

Warrington Guardian:

Blake Austin and Stefan Ratchford steered the ship, Daryl Clark was outstanding as ever and Matty Ashton continues to perform as if saying to Price “do not even think about leaving me out.”

Saints tested him in the air and on the ground but he passed every single one while only a desperate Jonny Lomax tackle denied him the try his displays have deserved following a jet-heeled break.

Warrington Guardian:

In defence, they were relentless and completely stifled a Saints side that are so often free-flowing.

Ratchford’s try-saver on Kevin Naiqama in the corner was superb and even when the game was won, they showed unbelievable desire to hold Lomax up over the line to keep their clean sheet intact.

Every knock-on they forced and every defensive win was celebrated with the same jubilation as a try scored, all amid a red-hot atmosphere on the terraces.

There is clearly a togetherness in this group which will only grow with more displays like this.


. Wire keep a team scoreless for the first time since beating Wigan 23-0 in the 2018 Challenge Cup

. First time Wire have ‘nilled’ Saints since winning 16-0 in the Lancashire Cup Final at Wigan on October 23, 1982

. Saints ‘nilled’ for the first time since June 2016 (25-0 vs Wigan)

. Matt Davis makes his 100th career appearance


Super League, Round Two

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Warrington Wolves...19 St Helens...0

Wolves: Matty Ashton; Josh Charnley, Anthony Gelling, Toby King, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Stefan Ratchford; Joe Philbin, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ben Currie, Jason Clark. Subs: Sitaleki Akauola, Danny Walker, Luther Burrell, Matt Davis

Saints: Jack Welsby; Kevin Naiqama, Matty Costello, Mark Percival, Regan Grace; Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages; Matty Lees, James Bentley, Luke Thompson, Dom Peyroux, Zeb Taia, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Subs: Joe Batchelor, Jack Ashworth, Joseph Paulo, Aaron Smith

Scoring: Ratchford penalty, 18mins, 2-0; D Clark try, 32mins, 6-0; Lineham try, 35mins, Ratchford goal, 12-0; Austin drop goal, 40mins, 13-0; Charnley try, 54mins, 17-0; Ratchford penalty, 68mins, 19-0

Penalties: Wolves 9 Saints 8

Referee: Chris Kendall

Attendance: 12,562