St Helens 30 Warrington 22: Saints make the most of Wolves' injury woes

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The Independent Online

Warrington's long wait for a win at St Helens goes on, largely thanks to a typical Saints purple patch of three tries in six minutes after half-time.

The Wolves, not helped by serious injuries to Chris Bridge and Matt King, lost their defensive shape to allow Saints to build a lead they were never to lose.

Bridge's ruptured Achilles is the worse injury, but it was the departure of King with a strained calf that opened up the Wolves' defence. "They exploited the Matt King factor," said their coach, Paul Cullen.

It has been 14 years since Warrington won at Knowsley Road and they found themselves behind after five minutes when James Roby forced his way over for a try.

The saving grace for Warrington was that, with their first real attack, they hit back. Lee Briers got his pass to Martin Gleeson and Chris Hicks was on hand to show the finishing ability he has brought to the side.

Steve Tyrer kicked a penalty for the home side, but the whole nature of the game then changed in the six minutes before half-time with two tries that put Warrington ahead.

Briers was involved on both occasions, first beautifully disguising a short pass to send Martin Gleeson off his hip and over for the score. Three minutes later Briers sold a dummy to a transfixed St Helens defence and breezed over the line.

Matt Gidley came to Saints' rescue early in the second half, moving the ball wide to set up Ade Gardner for one try and back inside for Paul Clough to claim another. When Keiron Cunningham's pass opened up the same area for Gardner again, Saints were asserting themselves.

Warrington were not finished, because a powerful run from Paul Johnson brought them back to within four points, before a nice sidestep from Tyrer made up for several missed kicks.

Kevin Penny raised Warrington's hopes yet again, but Francis Meli made sure there would be no late salvage operation by the visitors.

"There was some skilful finishing in a great game for the second round of the season," Daniel Anderson, the St Helens coach, said.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Gidley, Tyrer, Meli; Pryce, Long; Fozzard, Roby, Graham, Gilmour, Bennett, Flannery. Substitutes used: Cunningham, Hargreaves, Clough, Frodsham.

Warrington: Bridge; Hicks, Martin Gleeson, King, Penny; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, L. Anderson, Westwood, V. Anderson. Substitutes used: Mark Gleeson, Parker, Johnson, Bracek.

Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury).

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