Warrington 10 St Helens 22 match report: Saints find swagger to regain edge over old foes
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
the Halliwell Jones Stadium
Friday 08 March 2013
St Helens made a mockery of their mediocre early-season form with the sort of performance they used to produce routinely against their neighbours.
Saints turned back the clock with a commanding display to which the Super League favourites had no answer. Coming after a defeat at Hull KR last week, it is not the start to the season that Warrington had in mind.
Time was when they could not beat Saints in the Super League no matter what they tried but the balance of power is switched in these parts and it is now the Wolves whose fans expect them to challenge for all the honours. They had an early jolt tonight when their defence misread Jonny Lomax's delayed pass that put Jordan Turner in for the game's first try.
Still inside the first 10 minutes, they took another dummy to let Lance Hohaia in and it was uncomfortably like old times. Even when Warrington mounted an attack after Jon Wilkin's kick was charged down they made a mess of chances on both wings. Saints went further ahead when Lomax's long looping pass, admittedly a couple of yards forward, put Francis Meli in at the corner.
The Wolves were lucky to be only 14 points behind as half-time approached and even luckier when the margin was reduced to 10 by Chris Bridge's first try of the season, direct from a scrum just before the break.
That should have been a springboard for Warrington in the second half, but they still found it difficult to control the ball with Saints' defence in their faces. Instead, the visitors went further ahead through a Lomax penalty after Paul Wood went high on the livewire James Roby.
It was Roby, at his very best in this match, who made the result secure by pinching the ball from Chris Hill for Saints' fourth try. Bridge's second try came too late.
Warrington Hodgson (capt); J Monaghan, Bridge, Atkins, Riley; Ratchford, Myler; Wood, M Monaghan, Hill, Grix, Westwood, Cooper. Substitutes used Carvell, Higham, McCarthy, Currie.
St Helens Lomax; Gardner, Turner, Jones, Meli; Hohaia, Wilkin (capt); Laffranchi, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Manu, Flanagan. Substitutes used Puletua, Clough, Greenwood, Walker.
Referee R Silverwood (Mirfield).
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