St Helens returned to the top of the league with a convincing 38-12 win over Warrington at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Here’s what happened.
Saints got the first points of the game after Ben Currie conceded a penalty for hands in the ruck, which Lachlan Coote successfully converted.
A bursting Chris Hill run set up the first try of the game. Jonny Lomax stole the ball from Daryl Clark for it to fall into the hands of Blake Austin to put down. Ratchford added the extras to make it 6-2.
Mike Cooper was sin binned for a high tackle on Danny Richardson, which would prove to be costly as Saints scored twice against the twelve men.
Firstly, Coote did all the hard work, running it and switching the play on the last tackle to feed Percival to score to tie the score.
Warrington conceded a penalty once again for hands in the ruck in which Coote converted to pull Saints ahead.
Jason Clark then conceded a penalty for a two-on-one ball steal which gave field position for Saints. Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook took three players over the line with his first touch to make it 14-6 with five minutes to go until half time.
Saints weren’t finished and Warrington’s discipline once again got the better of them. Stefan Ratchford conceded a penalty for not being square. Blake Austin is used to using his step on defences but this time it was Jonny Lomax who stepped of his left foot to go round Austin to make it 20-6 at half time.
McCarthy-Scarsbrook almost extended their lead further after the break but was judged not to have control of the ball as he attempted to touch down Danny Richardson’s grubber.
This time, it was Warrington who took advantage of a penalty. Matty Lees gave a penalty away for messing around at the play of the ball. It opened up for Daryl Clark to score from dummy half to reduce the deficit to 8 points.
A miscommunication between Ratchford and Tom Lineham resulted in the ball bouncing from a towering Coote bomb, which an on-rushing Matty Lees gratefully took to score under the posts.
Regan Grace looked to have sealed the game with twenty minutes to go through individual brilliance, finding a gap and rounding the full back. Tom Lineham made contact with the head as Grace put the ball down, resulting in a eight point try and was lucky not to be given a card.
It was starting to become comfortable for Saints as a sweeping move put Tommy Makinson in the corner, which visibly pleased Justin Holbrook to make the final score 38-12.
It looks as if the Super League season is going to be a two horse race between these two sides and Saints have taken the bragging rights for the moment against their local rivals. However, this game will mean nothing towards the end of the season. Saints beat Warrington three times in the regular season but lost in the game that mattered when they were beaten in the play-off semi final.
Blake Austin has been running riot in recent weeks but he went missing against St Helens. His running game was non-existent and some of his passes went to ground. Credit also has to go to Saints’ defence as they were on him like a flash all game.
Yellow card costly
The game seemed to have been quiet until Mike Cooper recieved a yellow card, which proved to be costly. Saints scored twice while he was off the field and they had a 14-point lead at half time, which took the game away from the Wire.
Richardson fails to take chance
Despite a 38-12 victory, Danny Richardson failed to impress for Saints. The scoreline could have been even bigger but Richardson took the wrong options on some occasions. Theo Fages looks like he could return next week against Wigan and it looks to be a no brainer to bring Fages back into the team.
St Helens 38
Tries: Percival, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lomax, Lees, Grace, Makinson
Goals: Coote 7
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves 12
Tries: Austin, Clark
Goals: Ratchford 2
Drop Goals: n/a
St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Naqaima, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles.
Interchanges: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Lees.
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, Atkins, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Philbin.
Interchanges: Murdoch-Masila, Clark, Tasi, Davis.