St Helens 12 (12)
Tries: McDonnell, Manu
Goals: Makinson (2)
Warrington Wolves 39 (23)
Tries: Ratchford, M.Monaghan, O’Brien, J.Monaghan (2), Myler, Atkins
Goals: Ratchford (4), O’Brien
Drop Goals: Myler
Warrington Wolves denied St Helens the opportunity to lift the League Leaders’ Shield after a resounding 39-12 victory at Langtree Park.
Saints had to avoid defeat against their local rivals to lift their first piece of silverware since 2008 and got off to a good start with a try from Shannon McDonnell. Warrington hit back though through tries from Stefan Ratchford, Michael Monaghan, Gareth O’Brien and Joel Monaghan. Saints pulled one back through Willie Manu, but a drop goal late in the half from Richie Myler meant Warrington went into half time 23-12 ahead.
Warrington continued their dominance in the 2nd period, with 3 more unanswered tries from Myler, Joel Monaghan, grabbing his 2nd of the game, and Ryan Atkins.
St Helens started the match the brightest and Shannon McDonnell opened the scoring on the 3 minute mark. Anthony Laffranchi made the break, spun round in the challenge from Stefan Ratchord to find McDonnell in support on his inside. The Australian went over under the sticks and Tommy Makinson converted to give Saints a 6-0 lead.
That was as good as it got for the league leaders however, as Warrington controlled and dominated the rest of the match. 4 minutes later the Wolves responded through a try from Stefan Ratchford, who threw a dummy which deceived Adam Swift, Paul Wellens and Josh Jones to go over for Warrington.
10 minutes later and a moment of genius from Michael Monaghan put the Wolves ahead. The Australian collected the ball from dummy half 5 metres out, threw a dummy which deceived the entire Saints defence allowing him to make his way over the line unchallenged.
Fooling the Saints defence with dummies was becoming a successful ploy for Warrington, and the tactic worked again on 22 minutes when the impressive Gareth O’Brien deceived Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Lance Hohaia before darting over the line for Warrington’s 3rd try.
From the next play, second-rower Trent Waterhouse made a break and found Richie Myler who had the speed to take Warrington up the field. Myler found Joel Monaghan in support on his inside who went over to extend the Wolves’ advantage.
St Helens have a history of coming from behind to stun Warrington, and when Willie Manu went over 5 minutes later, Saints showed they weren’t going down without a fight. Manu broke the Warrington line 20 metres out before wrong footing full back Matty Russell to go over and reduce the score to 22-12.
Knowing that the game could go down to the wire, Richie Myler opted for a drop goal on the stroke of half time to extend Warrington’s advantage to 23-12 at the break.
The first try of the second half was crucial as an indication to the outcome of the game, and it was Warrington who scored it through Myler on 46 minutes. Yet again, another dummy fooled Wellens and Manu as the Warrington scrum-half went over for the Wolves’ 5th try of the evening.
5 minutes later Joel Monaghan celebrated his 2nd try of the match after a calamity of errors from Saints allowed the Warrington winger over. A knock on 20 metres away from their own line from Mose Masoe was collected by Ryan Atkins. Atkins had the vision to kick the ball over 3 Saints defenders and it was fumbled by Matty Dawson. Jordan Turner and Josh Jones couldn’t gather the ball, which eventually found its way to Monaghan who kicked it towards the line before pouncing on it for the try. Monaghan is now the league’s leading try scorer with 26 tries this season.
Warrington scored their final try on 63 minutes. Lance Hohaia’s looping ball was misjudged by Saints, as Ryan Atkins collected it and ran 40 metres to score under the sticks. O’Brien converted, and Warrington held out for a 39-12 victory.
Should Castleford drop points at home to Wakefield on Sunday, St Helens will still be awarded the League Leaders’ Shield this weekend; otherwise they must wait till the final round of fixtures next weekend.
Warrington’s win moves them up in to 2nd as they look for a top 4 finish. However, with a tough final fixture away at Wigan next Thursday, the Wolves could still finish anywhere from 2nd-6th in what is proving to be the closest Super League season yet.