St Helens have increased their lead to eight points after a 21-10 victory against second place Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. Here is everything that happened.
The match got off to a feisty start and unfortunately for Aaron Smith, his night ended early due to a head clash when tackling Sitaleki Akauola. Both sides traded blows, with Reegan Grace coming close, but having his attempted chalked off by the video referee.
However, in the thirteenth minute, Warrington edged in front through the boot of Dec Patton close to the sticks. A couple of minutes later and the Wolves doubled their lead, again through Patton, when Saints gave away a penalty for blocking chasers.
Both teams tried to find more than two points, but couldn’t find anything.
The second half began with a similar intensity to the first, with both sides looking to find a way through. However, after Grace allowed a Blake Austin kick to bounce, and after some great defensive pressure cause by the home side got them another penalty close to the line. They elected to take the two, and Patton added the extras.
However, the match would soon change after Jack Hughes found himself in the sin bin for a shoulder charge. This would start a revival for the away side.
Five minutes after Hughes was sent to the bin, and after sixty nerve jangling minutes the game saw its first try with Mark Percival scoring near the corner. Although it has caused a lot of controversy. The try came through a break by Jonny Lomax, who was tackled just short of the line and off the resulting play Theo Farges was able to send his centre through. Lachlan Coote added the extras.
A couple of minutes later, and the League Leaders showed why they are now eight points clear. After a high kick from Saints, Jake Mamo fumbled the ball whilst being tackled, and Luke Thompson was there to pick up the pieces and gave his side the lead with just over ten to go. Coote with the extras.
Off the next set, and about five metres from the sticks, Coote cleverly slotted over the one pointer to make it a two score game.
However, the Wolves wouldn’t give up with out a fight, as after a short kick off, Mamo recovered the ball and sprinted to the line, sending the packed Halliwell Jones frenzy. However, Patton failed to add the extras.
Saints put the game to bed in the 77th minute, when Alex Warmsley crashed over to end a grandstand finish. Coote added the extras.
The game ended with a penalty conversion, but this time for Saints. As with seconds remaining, the Wolves held down for too long, and Coote took the two.
The result means that St’s move eight clear of the Wolves, who remain four points clear of third place Hull FC. Warrington will look to bounce back as they travel to the Capital to face the Broncos, whilst for the League Leaders, they have a home match against Hull FC.
Coote Vs Austin
As the battle for the Man of Steel is about to step up again, it looks like it is going to be between two men, Lachlan Coote and Blake Austin. Both players have come to Super League on Marquee wages, and have shown why they are rated as two of the leagues best. Although Austin is leading the rankings at the moment, I feel that Coote will have closed the gap after this match. Who will pick up the big prize come the end of the season, you will have to wait to find out.
Steve Price: “The scoreline didn’t really reflect the game”
Steve Price was “Pleased” with his sides performance, even though they came short in this game. Saying how the game was separated by inches, he feels that the scoreline doesn’t show how close the game truly was. He went on to say this, “It was a tough game, it was one v two and I thought it was a quality game of football. We had to be at our best to beat them and just came up short in a couple of areas. But I’m super proud of the boys, it was a big effort and in big games you get limited opportunities, and when you do get that chance you have to grab it and we didn’t get those little moments. Overall I’m pleased where we are at, they are a quality football team. It was one of those games where it was a matter of inches but there’s a lot of positives to take.”
Justin Holbrook: “The toughest game I’ve been involved in”
St Helens Head Coach, Justin Holbrook is over the moon following his sides victory in this match. Calling the eighty minutes, “The toughest game he has been involved in”. He went on to say, “It was as good as it can get for me. Warrington didn’t give an inch and I was extremely proud of my side to do the same. You are never going to get many opportunities in those kind of games and I’m extremely proud to finish the game like we did. We were hanging in there for a fair bit of the game and we kept hanging in with blokes playing more minutes than they normally do so it’s a huge win for us. ”
A crazy 10 minutes
This game seemed to swing from the Wolves grasp when Jack Hughes was sent to the sin bin. They were six points clear, looking solid in defence, but for the second time this year, and Yellow Card has cost them against the Saints. Whilst the second rower was off the field, St’s were able to get on the scoreboard, and get there heads up, especially in a game that had been a really worrying match for fans of the Red Vee. Possibly the toughest test so far for the reigning and current League Leaders, but as the saying goes, Never write off the Saints.
Warrington Wolves 10
Goals: Patton 3
Drop Goals: n/a
St Helens 21
Tries: Percival, Thompson, Warmsley
Goals: Coote 4
Drop Goals: Coote
Warrington Wolves: Mamo, Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, D Clark, Copper, Currie, Hughes, Akauola
Interchanges: J Clark, Tasi, Philbin Davis
St Helens : Coote, Makinson, Niqhama, Percival, Grace, Farges, Lomax, Warmsley, Smith, Thompson, Peyroux, Knowles, Macarthy-Scarsbook
Interchanges: Paulo, Amor, Lees, Bentley