Coming into tonight’s tenth round game against the Warrington Wolves, hosts St Helens knew that a win would lift them back to the top of the table, above a Catalans Dragons side who are without a fixture this weekend due to a coronavirus outbreak at the Leeds Rhinos club.
But Warrington are snapping at the heels of the leading three as they looked for their seventh win of the season which while giving them more points than Saints or Wigan would still leave them trailing them on win percentage.
Saints were the big favourites with the bookies and the tipsters having being penalised by eight points on the handicap coupon, as the two sides met in the Cup Final that could have been, had Castleford not knocked out the Wolves in the semi-final a fortnight ago.
After a scrappy opening, Warrington just edging the early position and possession, it was the Saints who opened the scoring on twelve minutes thanks to the boot of Lachlan Coote after Stefan Ratchford stole the ball while defending his own line.
Ben Currie scored the first try of the game on twenty-two minutes after a long pass from Ratchford found Tom Lineham who went down the touchline before putting the pass inside to the Wolves second rower to score under the sticks. Gareth Widdop added the conversion for 6-2.
A Saints obstruction while running the ball on thirty-eight presented Warrington with the opportunity to extend the lead to six points but Widdop put his penalty kick wide of the uprights, the Wolves good value for the 6-2 lead that they took into the interval.
The Wolves had a try ruled out on forty-nine for a forward pass. Five minutes later Jake Mamo shoulder charged Jack Welsby off the ball in goal as he chased a kick and after electing to tap the resulting penalty the Saints couldn’t get over the line, Ratchford stealing the ball in a one-on-one tackle.
The Warrington defensive effort was tremendous as Saints sought the try that would win a close game.
On seventy-six Saints had a try ruled out for a Jonny Lomax forward pass and it was the last scoring opportunity of the game as the clock ran down to a 6-2 final score in the visitors’ favour.
This was a real arm-wrestle of a game between two strong defences which was won by the only try of the game when Ben Currie scooted over with the game just over twenty minutes old. The Champions were kept to just two points as Warrington set out their stall for a tilt at Old Trafford.
St Helens: Coote (G), Makinson, Naiqama, Welsby, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Thompson, Mata’utia, Knowles. Subs: Amor, Paasi, Batchelor, Dodd.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Mamo, King, Charnley, Austin, Widdop (G), Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie (T), Hughes, Philbin. Subs: Mulhern, Davis, Akauola, Walker.
Referee: Chris Kendall.
Score Progression: 2-0, 2-4, 2-6 : HT : : FT.