As dead rubber games go, this one wasn’t going to bounce very high. The only thing that it had going for it was that it was the dress rehearsal for the playoff semi-final in a fortnights time as fourth placed Warrington Wolves played hosts to Minor Premiers St Helens in a game which neither coach wanted to loose, but more importantly, didn’t want to give any clues as to their thoughts for the upcoming crucial encounter. Warrington had been made slight favourites for the win as Saints announced a pack line-up with a different look to it compared to the regular season. Saints won the last meeting by just 14-12 after a much larger 30-12 win in March. What we didn’t expect was two fully committed sides slogging it out for the pride of the win. Danny Richardson got the Saints scoring underway with a ten metre penalty after Ben Westwood conceeded a penalty in front of his own sticks. As the minutes wore on the game became increasingly brutal with some massive hits from both sides. On twelve minutes referee Kendall sin-binned Matty Lees, Mark Percival and Ryan Atkins, Lees for an initial reckless tackle and the other two for running in. Ben Murdoch-Masila went close on eighteen but was hauled down short and strong Saints defence neutralised the threat. Minutes later Bryson Goodwin was held up over the line and when it looked  like Josh Charnley would spin his way in Regan Grace put in a terrific tackle. On twenty-two the Saints defence was finally broken when Kevin Brown sold the dummy and then ran the angle to score from twenty metres. Declan Patton added the conversion for a 6-2 home lead as the sin-binned players returned to the pitch. On thirty-one Saints regained the lead as Luke Douglas shrugged off the tackle of four Wolves players and dropped over the line. Richardson added the goal and somewhat against the run of play it was 8-6 to the visitors. A Jack Ashworth  break made the space for Saints and on the next tackle fast hands saw the ball end up in the hands of Regan Grace for a two metre walk-in. Richadson was unable to add the extras as the half-time hooter sounded, Saints 12-6 ahead. Ninety seconds after the restart a superb break from Danny Richardson saw him make it within a metre of the Wolves line before a superb Josh Charnley tackle forced him into touch, saving a certain try. On fifty a superb inside Mark Percival pass was picked up by Jonny Lomax in an acre of space for a walk in try as the Wolves defence were rooted to the spot. Richardson added the conversion for clear daylight between the sides. On the kick-off return the Saints were in again, this time it was Richardson with the four pointer as he completed a flowing run over eighty metres. He added the extras himself for a 24-6 lead. The result was put beyond doubt when Ben Barba waltzed his way over the line from twenty metres as the Wolves defence threw in the towel. Richardson couldn’t add the extras but at 28-6  the Saints were ‘home and hosed’. Toby King picked up a Richardson spilled ball on the half way line on sixty-five and went half the length of the field to score wide left. Patton was unable to add the conversion for 10-28. Two minutes later the Wolves looked to be in again but after taking a difficult ball Charnley knocked-on in the act of scoring. Barba grabbed his second of the afternoon as the Wolves defence parted on seventy-six and as two tacklers slipped off the Saints full back, he grounded under the sticks giving Richardson a simple conversion for 34-10. The last points of the game were scored spectaculary by Bryson Goodwin who flew over in the corner and grounded one-handed while airborne. Patton couldn’t add the touchline conversion and the game finished 14-34. It was an entertaining game, for a dead rubber, and one in which Saints were deserving of a win with a far superior performance. There was enough here for the Wolves to not feel too downhearted but they will know that they need to be both more robust in defence and penetrative in attack if they are to make it to Old Trafford. Wolves: Ratchford, Goodwin (T), King T (T), Atkins (SB on 12), Charnley, Brown (T), Roberts, Hill, Patton (G), Cooper, Murdoch-Masila, Thompson, Westwood.   Subs: Philbin, King G, Livett, Smith. Saints: Barba (2T), Makinson, Morgan, Percival (SB on 12), Grace (T), Lomax (T), Richardson (T, 5G), Thompson, Knowles, Lees (SB on 12), Taia, Bentley, Wilkin.  Subs: Fages, Douglas (T), Peyroux, Ashworth. Referee: Chris Kendall. Half-Time: 6-12. Full-Time: 14-34. Attendance: .

All views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the RLFANS.COM or its subsites.

Copyright 1999 - 2019 RLFANS.COM

You must be 18+ to gamble, for more information and for help with gambling issues see