Briers stars as Wolves weather late Saints revival

St Helens 18 Warrington 25
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The Independent Online

A change of scene proved a powerful tonic for Warrington as Saints' first game in exile at Widnes saw them beaten by their neighbours for only the second time in the era of summer rugby.

Two tries from Lee Briers – the only Warrington survivor from the last team to beat St Helens – were key as the Wolves took an early control they were never to lose, despite a late flurry of points from Saints.

Warrington had not beaten Saints away from home since 1994 and had not recorded a victory over them anywhere for almost 10 years, so it was understandable that this result should be hailed as the second coming.

"I'm really happy for the people who've been supporters for many years," said the Warrington coach, Tony Smith. "They are the ones who should be celebrating tonight."

Warrington did not start like a team with the weight of recent history on their shoulders, racking up an 18-point lead from three converted tries in the first quarter.

Inside the first two minutes, David Solomona sucked in the tacklers and Briers sold a big dummy before touching down before Richie Myler added the second. For the third, Briers' kick hit a defender and bounced straight back into his arms, leaving Saints powerless to intervene.

Warrington extended their lead after 52 minutes through Louie Anderson before Saints finally got over the line, thanks to Michael Shenton's effort. But they they had left themselves with far too much to do. Briers added a drop-goal before Chris Flannery's late touchdown massaged the scoreline slightly.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Shenton, Lomax, Meli; Gaskell, Eastmond; Graham, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Flannery, Soliola, Wilkin. Subs used: Puletua, Moore, Clough, Foster.

Warrington: Hodgson; Riley, Blythe, Atkins, J Monaghan; Briers, Myler; Morley, Monaghan, Carvell, Anderson, Westwood, Solomona. Subs used: Harrison, Higham, Wood, Evans.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).