Costly mistakes

end in defeat

words by Gary Skentelbery pictures Neil Ashurst

WARRINGTON were made to pay the penalty for some costly first half mistakes as St Helens maintained their 100 per cent start to Super League XI and their dominance over the Wolves with an 10-18 victory.
Saints have lost just one of their 25 Super League meetings with Warrington and rarely looked like losing a closely-fought contest after the Wolves gave themselves too much to do with a shaky first half performance.
Skipper Lee Briers kicked out on the full after six minutes as the hosts failed to settle early and Saints quickly made them pay.
Scrum-half Sean Long launched a high bomb which Richie Barnett failed to deal with and Jamie Lyon took the catch and flicked the ball skillfully inside to Keiron Cunningham, who trotted over for his ninth try in 14 games at Warrington.
Warrington enjoyed plenty of possession and territory but failed to breach a rock-solid Saints defensive line, then almost inevitably they were hit with a sucker punch.
Francis Meli looked to be just relieving the pressure with a run out of defence, but his step inside forced Martin Gleeson to miss his tackle and the winger was away. He was caught by full-back Brent Grose but was able to off-load to the supporting Willie Talau, who sprinted clear to score.
Michael Sullivan dropped the ball in a promising position on the second tackle as Warrington looked to strike back, but they were fortunate not to concede another try just before the break.
Grose popped up the football deep inside his own 20 and Sean Long sent Paul Anderson trundling over, only for the score to be suprisngly ruled out for an alleged forward pass.
Warrington finally broke the Saints defensive line when Briers sent a delicate cross-kick dropping into the arms of Henry Fa'afili to score his 6th try of the season.
Saints hit back just before the hour mark when Lyon sent Ade Gardner crashing over in the corner.
The match swung once more on 62 minutes when Jason Hooper was sin-binned for a late hit on Briers and straight from the tap penalty the stand-off put Mike Wainwright over with a beautifully delayed pass.
The Wolves scented blood but they could not force their way over the line again and once Hooper returned it was Saints who finished the stronger, Lyon slotting a penalty to settle any late nerves.
Warrington coach Paul Cullen remained upbeat insisting his side could take plenty of positives from the game.
"We are very encouraged by the effort and over the full 80 minutes we were just one play short."
"That's a very good St Helens side who tested our defence and it held for the vast majority of the game.
"There's an awful lot of improvement left in this side yet because tonight went down to just one play over 80 minutes."

Warrington (0) 10.
Tries: Fa'afili, Wainwright.
Goals: Briers.

St Helens (12) 18.
Tries: Cunningham, Talau, Gardner.
Goals: Lyon 3.
Att: 13,024

  • Pictures show Martin Gleeson eyeing up his old team mates and substitute Michael Sullivan.
    Pictures courtesy of Neil Ashurst