St Helens vs Warrington Wolves: Tony Smith dedicates brilliant win to injured Simon Grix after forward suffers horrible broken ankle

Wolves put in one of their best performances of the season ahead of the play-offs but Grix was carried from the field after breaking his ankle in an awkward tackle

Warrington dedicated one of the best performances of the season to injury-jinxed forward Simon Grix, according to coach Tony Smith.

The 28-year-old back rower, who has missed 15 games this year with ankle and shoulder injuries, is facing another long spell on the sidelines after breaking an ankle just 17 minutes into Thursday night's First Utility Super League match at St Helens.

The Wolves were trailing 6-4 at the time but, after a lengthy stoppage, went on to dominate the rest of the match, running out 39-12 winners to keep Saints waiting for the League Leaders' Shield.

"We're devastated for Simon," Smith said. "He's broken his ankle and will be in for surgery tomorrow.

"I think that second half was a bit for Simon, the players spoke about that at half-time. He's had so many injuries and I think they dug in for Simon."

Warrington also lost both co-captains - Michael Monaghan with a head knock and Ben Westwood with a torn calf muscle - before half-time, although the former was able to return in the second half.

The game turned on a seven-minute spell in which the visitors ran in three converted tries through Michael Monaghan, Gareth O'Brien and Joel Monaghan, who added a second after the break to take his tally for the season to 26.

"It was a really good performance in many ways, particularly in the first half," Smith added.

"I know they without recognised half-backs but they are a huge team to deal with and we had to play a certain way to compete with them.

"They had a good star they had their tails up, but I thought we played smart.

"We lost two back rowers in the first half and that could have hurt us but we were brave and smart and courageous.

"There were three stand-outs for me. Matty Russell was sensational, Chris Hill was enormous for us and Monas (Michael Monaghan) ran the show until he got that injury."

St Helens also suffered a major injury blow with full-back Shannon McDonnell sustaining a broken jaw that will end his season.

"He broke his jaw in the first minute and carried on until half-time so he did really well," said coach Nathan Brown.

Needing only a point to finish top of the table for the first time for six years, St Helens got off to a perfect start with McDonnell's fourth-minute try but they were blown away by Warrington's purple patch and never managed to get back into the game despite Willie Manu's try on the half-hour.

"It was not the performance we were looking for," Brown added. "We struggled in a few areas and their dummy-half runners caused us a quite a lot of trouble.

"We had players taking dummies on key ball players and our back three had five or six play-one errors which is not like them.

"To round it off, we had a fair number of players who were below their best, which is not good but it happens.

"I can't be too critical of the guys because at the end of the day, they put the club in a good spot under a reasonable amount of adversity.

"Unfortunately we saved the off night for what could have been a great occasion for our fans but I've still got a lot of faith in the guys that we can recover from this.

"We generally recover from these losses well."

PA

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