Toa Kohe-Love did the side he will join next season a favour with the try that levelled a thrilling match at Wilderspool yesterday. Warrington's Kiwi centre is bound for Hull and his 73rd-minute try will make it desperately difficult for Saints to climb above them into third place at the end of the regular season and avoid sudden death rugby in the play-offs.
A St Helens side lacking eight regulars seemed to have clinched it when Keiron Cunningham went over for his second try, but the lack of a reliable goal-kicker hurt them, with three different players managing just two goals from eight.
Warrington took the lead through Lee Penny, before being pegged back by Tommy Martyn, who later went off with a potentially serious hip injury, to give Saints more to worry about. The tackle by Tawera Nikau that did the damage was placed on report and Saints' coach, Ian Millward, said: "We lacked a bit of direction when he went off.''
Wingers had scored on their debuts for both sides by the time he went, Kevin Crouthers for Warrington and John Kirkpatrick, following a tremendous blind-side run by Cunningham, for Saints.
Saints took the lead when Cunningham went over from dummy-half, but in a game of fluctuating fortunes, Warrington were back in front by half-time, despite Nikau going to the sin bin for an incident at the play-the-ball, with Lee Briers sending David Kidwell over. Paul Wellens snatched the lead back for Saints, before Crouthers' second put the Wolves on top again.
Cunningham then provided the scoring pass for John Stankevitch after a typical length of the field move from Saints and his own second try made it a six-point lead. But then Gary Hulse and Kidwell combined for Kohe-Love's try, with Ian Knott, just brought into the game in place of Briers, landing the difficult conversion to tie the scores.
Both sides had their chances after that, with Kirkpatrick denied a second try for a forward pass and Nikau knocking on as Warrington tried to set up a winning drop goal.
Warrington's enthusiasm bodes well for next season, while Saints are going to have to defend their title the hard way. Not that Millward seemed overly concerned: "We won't make third place,'' he said. "I'm not even worrying about it, but I'm proud of the way our young players performed today.''
Warrington Wolves: Penny; Crouthers, Kidwell, Kohe-Love, Swann; Briers, Hulse; Masella, Clarke, Bates, Nikau, Guisset, Knott. Substitutes used: McCurrie, Moone, Whittle, Nutley.
St Helens: Stewart; Kirkpatrick, Hoppe, Bennett, Hall; Martyn, Wellens; Matautia, Cunningham, Nickle, Fairleigh, Stankevitch, Jonkers. Substitutes used: MacDonald, McConnell, Cruickshank, Braddish.
Referee: R Smith (Castleford).Reuse content