Magnificent Martyn leads rout of Wolves

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The Independent Online

Warrington have still not beaten Saints in Super League and the opportunism of Tommy Martyn meant that it was only for the briefest of moments that they looked as though they might possibly improve on that record at Knowsley Road last night.

Warrington have still not beaten Saints in Super League and the opportunism of Tommy Martyn meant that it was only for the briefest of moments that they looked as though they might possibly improve on that record at Knowsley Road last night.

That moment came early in the second half when Warrington, on a run of three victories that was their best of the season, pulled back to within four points. Sadly for them, Martyn's immediate third try triggered a salvo of 24 points in a mere eight minutes to return Saints to second place in the table.

That burst of scoring blew apart what had been a fiercely competitive match, in which Warrington had looked capable of repairing their errors.

Their first opportunity to attack had been squandered when Allan Langer's run from the scrum was whistled up for shepherding. By way of instant retribution, Saints went to the other end for Apollo Perelini to stand in the tackle and deliver the ball for Martyn's first.

Langer did infinitely better after 10 minutes, selling a dummy to scoot through a gap with more than a hint of his old pace from short range. With Lee Briers's goal, Warrington were level.

Martyn put Saints back in front, evading Mark Hilton's attempt at a tackle and Saints stepped up the pressure before half-time. Warrington were under more strain when Alan Hunte was sent to the sin-bin for stealing the ball after a tackle.

It did not take Saints long to capitalise, moving the ball smartly to the left for Anthony Sullivan to touch down and seal a 10 point lead at the midway mark.

The situation switched dramatically for Hunte and Warrington after the interval when, with the St Helens prop Julian O'Neill in the sin-bin, Hunte intercepted a pass from Sean Long to go 50 yards and score, throwing the game wide open.

Martyn effectively shut the door on the Wolves three minutes later, however, when he stepped inside three tacklers for his hat-trick try.

Still playing short-handed, Saints then exploited a mistake by the veteran Warrington winger, Mark Forster, playing his first game of the season after recovering from a broken arm. Forster lost the ball on the first tackle and, from the scrum, Vila Matautia served it up for Paul Wellens. Saints made it three tries in five minutes when Paul Sculthorpe sent Kevin Iro in.

With Andrew Gee the latest man to visit the sin-bin - the St Helens coach, Ian Millward, said he had been concerned for the safety of his players at times - the rout went on with Keiron Cunningham going over.

Tries from the Saints substitutes, Dwayne West and John Stankevitch, split by one from Dean Busby for Warrington continued the scoring with Tawera Nikau becoming the fourth man in the sin-bin.

Saints rounded off an impressive performance with Sculthorpe's try and Long's ninth conversion bringing up his 1,000 points for the club.

St Helens: Wellens; Hall, Iro, Hoppe, Sullivan; Martyn, Long; Perelini, Cunningham, O'Neill, Joynt, Tuilagi, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Matautia, Stewart, West, Stankevitch.

Warrington Wolves: Penny; Cowell, Kohe-Love, Hunte, Forster; Briers, Langer; Gee, Farrar, Hilton, McCurrie, Knott, Nikau. Substitutes used: Busby, Noone, Guisset, Peters.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).

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