Albert leads another Saints procession

Warrington 20 St Helens 50

Lee Briers, so often the hero for Warrington, saved one of his most error-ridden games for the most ruthless of opposition as Saints showed no ill-effects from their celebrations after winning the Challenge Cup last weekend.

Twice the Wolves captain threw passes that were intercepted for tries - the sort of extra help that a team in Saints' current destructive mood hardly need. The Warrington coach, Paul Cullen, declined to be specific with his blame. "It's a 17-man game and it wasn't one interception that cost us the right to compete in the match. We made a series of breaks, but fell down on our execution."

Contrary to some expectations, Saints fielded the same 13 that started in that Challenge Cup final victory; a sign perhaps of how keen they are to win the Super League title, now they have acquired the taste for winning trophies once more.

It was almost too easy for Saints at the start, as they worked a position near the posts and Kieron Cunningham scored with nonchalance from Paul Sculthorpe's kick. This is a fixture with a history of high scoring, and it looked set to follow in that tradition when Warrington replied after seven minutes. Their half-back Nat Wood made the initial inroads in the Saints defence and his pass released Ben Westwood for the try.

Warrington's defence continued to look fragile, however, and Saints were soon ahead again when John Wilkin, an early replacement for the injured Cunningham, drove over at the foot of the posts from Martin Gleeson's pass.

That prompted some inspired attacking from the Wolves, who were only kept out by some equally good tackling. All Warrington's efforts rebounded on them when Sculthorpe intercepted Lee Briers' loose pass and, as he was caught by Nat Wood, got his pass away to the fastest player on the pitch, Darren Albert, for the third Saints try.

Warrington got back into it when the outstanding Nat Wood put Michael Wainwright through a gap. Again the good work was undermined when Briers threw another intercepted pass, this time to gift Sean Long with a try.

Daryl Cardiss might have struck back for Warrington, but kicked ahead too strongly. There was to be no such escape when Saints next attacked, Sculthorpe and Gleeson setting up Albert to finish.

Nat Wood lost the ball as he reached over the Saints line a minute into the second half, and the art of clinical finishing was illustrated again when Long kicked through for Jason Hooper to put Saints completely out of reach.

Brent Grose got one back for Warrington, but Saints had already taken far too much advantage of their generosity, and they underlined their superiority as Albert completed his hat-trick from Gleeson's slick pass. "He's the one player who Australians fear in the Tri-Nations," said his coach, Ian Millward, afterwards.

Gleeson got a well-deserved try of his own before Lee Gilmour rounded it off for Saints with another breakaway try. Jon Clarke got a late consolation try for the battered Wolves.

Warrington: Appo; Wilshere, Grose, Westwood, Cardiss; Vires, N Wood; P Wood, Clarke, Hilton, Noone, Wainwright, Forshaw.

Substitutes used: Sibbit, Mark Gleeson, Liekvoll, Stevens.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Martin Gleeson, Talau, Calvert; Hooper, Long; Fozzard, Cunningham, Mason, Joynt, Gilmour, Sculthorpe.

Substitutes used: Edmondson, Bibey, Wilkin, Hardman.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).