WARRINGTON Wolves' players and supporters will no doubt have had worse Monday mornings.

They find themselves waking up with a Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to and with a convincing win over neighbours St Helens still very fresh in the memory.

Here, we assess some key Wire talking points from the 31-8 victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium...

A 'glass ceiling' moment?

It’s still far too early to pass ultimate judgement on this group of Warrington Wolves players, but an element of scepticism would always remain among many until they broke the recent cycle of defeats against St Helens and Wigan.

Well now, they have.

Not since 2021 have Warrington had this feeling – the euphoria of a victory over the nearest and dearest – and boy, did it feel good.

The post-match scenes of celebration have been all too rare of late but now, there is a clear focus that this is not the top of Wire’s mountain.

There is still plenty more to do as Sam Burgess continues to stress but having thrust a millstone from around their necks, could this be a 'glass ceiling' moment for the team and club as a whole?

Warrington Guardian: Jubilant Wire fans celebrate a try against St HelensJubilant Wire fans celebrate a try against St Helens (Image: SWPix.com)

Beating Saints at their own game

Nobody could be blamed for fearing for Warrington when the teamsheets dropped and showed a pack already without arguably its shining light in Paul Vaughan and a fair amount of size in Zane Musgrove but now also having been shorn of the in-form Ben Currie’s services.

That is not to say Saints were without their issues in that area with Matty Lees and Agnatius Paasi missing, but they appeared to hold a clear advantage in that key area.

However, they were beaten at their own game by an aggressive Wire side that invested heavily in their line speed, denying the hosts any chance at building momentum.

We have seen Warrington teams in the recent past try to do this to St Helens and have periods of joy only to eventually be ground down, but this time it was them squeezing the life out of their prey.

Warrington Guardian: Saints' James Bell is tackled by James Harrison and Joe BullockSaints' James Bell is tackled by James Harrison and Joe Bullock (Image: SWpix.com)

Big moments from big players

It was clear long before today that George Williams was the beating heart of this side.

His job is to shine in the “clutch” moments when the pressure is on – that is why Warrington moved heaven and earth to bring him back from the NRL and today, he truly delivered.

Topping the lot was his superb try-saving tackle to dislodge the ball from Lewis Dodd’s grasp when it looked certain the Saints half would cross the line and extend the hosts’ lead.

That came during Saints’ best spell of the match when it looked as though they were getting on top, but from that point on it was all Warrington.

And of course, Williams was in the thick of it all in a masterclass of guile and leadership, icing a drop-goal to edge Wire ahead at the break before finishing off the scoring himself with the match long since won.

Warrington Guardian: George Williams kicks the drop goal that gave Wire a half-time leadGeorge Williams kicks the drop goal that gave Wire a half-time lead (Image: SWPix.com)

Fire melts ice

Our pre-match talking points piece talked about the stylistic clash between Wire’s in-form attack and Saints’ stingy defence – a meeting of fire and ice.

Well after a period of gentle heating, the visitors turned up the temperature and the ice duly melted.

Not since 2015, when they won 39-12 in Super League, have Wire beaten their neighbours by such a convincing margin while they became just the second side to post 30 points in a game against Saints since Paul Wellens took charge.

It could have been more, too – only a try-saving tap-down from Waqa Blake prevented Josh Thewlis from opening the scoring earlier than he did while Warrington were on the wrong end of two marginal video referee decisions to deny them more second-half joy.

Time and again, Wire opened their hosts up on either edge to expose the kind of defensive frailty out wide many thought they may be able to attack.

If they can keep their spine together and consistent, the potential for what they could do when fields dry out and get faster is certainly exciting.

Warrington Guardian: Josh Thewlis goes over unopposed to open the scoringJosh Thewlis goes over unopposed to open the scoring (Image: SWPix.com)

A clash of the underdog victors

There were cheers on all sides of the ground when the half-time semi-final draw paired the victors with Huddersfield Giants.

On paper at least, it will be seen as an easier prospect than facing Wigan Warriors or Hull KR, but let’s not start booking trains and hotels in London just yet.

Beating Catalans is no mean feat – Wire should know having already lost to them twice this year – and it is even tougher in Perpignan, so the Giants’ 34-6 win there certainly stands out.

That was their fifth win in six games and while the previous four came courtesy of besting Castleford, London and Hull FC twice, Ian Watson’s side are going under the radar and will pose a serious threat.

Either way, there will be one side who was not fancied to go beyond the last-eight stepping out at Wembley Stadium on June 8.

Warrington Guardian: Wire's semi-final opponents Huddersfield impressively beat Catalans in Perpignan in the quarter finalsWire's semi-final opponents Huddersfield impressively beat Catalans in Perpignan in the quarter finals (Image: SWPix.com)