Eastmonda thing of booty for Saints

Warrington Wolves 26 St Helens 40
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The Independent Online

Kyle Eastmond underlined his credentials as heir apparent to Sean Long as Saints went clear at the top of Super League and got over the shock of last week's defeat by Salford.

Warrington have only beaten Saints once in the Super League era – way back in 2001 – and never at home. Three late tries, the first of them from the effervescent Eastmond, ensured that long sequence continued after the Wolves had been ahead to a prop forward wonder try midway through the second half.

"He's got the jump on everyone for the position and tonight was a good test for him," said his coach, Mick Potter, of the young half's ambition to take over permanently from the injured Long when he goes to Hull at the end of this season. "He was a bit slow out of the blocks, but by the end he was controlling the game."

The Wolves were without Adrian Morley and Lee Briers but had Brian Carney making his debut on the right wing. It was on the other flank that they made their breakthrough, with Michael Monaghan and Louis Anderson allowing Matt King to go on the gallop and Jon Clarke to complete a spectacular 70-metre try.

Saints showed what makes them so difficult to play against when Eastmond produced a beautiful pass to put Lee Gilmour through the defence and then Gary Wheeler's long break yielded the position from which James Graham barged over; two conversions and a penalty from Eastmond made it 14 points in nine minutes.

Chris Bridge cut the margin to two points with a try and a goal, but straight before half-time Saints struck from long range again. James Roby did the damage and the ball eventually went to the other wing for Eastmond's pass to send Ade Gardner over.

Five minutes into the second half, Warrington were level again thanks to Paul Johnson's muscular run off Monaghan's pass after Jon Wilkin had lost the ball in a tackle.

Then came the moment Garreth Carvell will never forget. Snapping up the ball when Leon Pryce's pass bounced off Roby, he went 60 metres to score a try that negated his membership of the front-rowers' union. It was wiped out when Eastmond ducked through a tackle and sent Paul Wellens away, but Bridge broke the deadlock when Tony Puletua was penalised for not playing the ball properly.

Then, however, Graham and Wellens opened up the Wolves defence and Eastmond nipped through to touch down and add the goal. Graham followed up with his second, Francis Meli went over as well and the Warrington crowd's long wait goes on.

Warrington: Mathers; Carney, Grix, King, Riley; Bridge, Monaghan; Wood, Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison. Substitutes used: Johnson, Cooper, V Anderson, Johnson.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Wheeler, Gilmour, Meli; Pryce, Eastmond; Graham, Roby, Clough, Wilkin, Flannery, Puletua.

Substitutes used: Dixon, Fa'asavalu, Hargreaves, Lomax.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

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