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St Helens 16 Warrington 29

Warrington Wolves kept alive their outside hopes of the league leaders' shield with a hard-fought 29-16 victory against St Helens at Langtree Park.
St Helens 16 Warrington 29
by rleague.com

Warrington Wolves kept alive their outside hopes of the league leaders' shield with a hard-fought 29-16 victory against St Helens at Langtree Park.

Former Huddersfield Giants coach Nathan Brown had the chance to hand the shield to his old club but his St Helens side never fully recovered from an appalling start in which they trailed 22-0 after 24 minutes.

They produced a gritty fightback, inspired by overseas duo Willie Manu and Tony Puletua, but it was not enough to prevent a first defeat in six matches.

The Giants will still secure the trophy with one win from their last two matches, starting with the visit of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats to the John Smith's Stadium on Sunday, but at least Warrington made sure of a top-three finish for the fourth year in a row.

Wolves coach Tony Smith opted against playing scrum-half Gareth O'Brien following his return from a loan spell at Saints and his choice of the versatile Simon Grix proved a masterstroke as he revelled in the role.

The visitors were also boosted by the return of veterans Adrian Morley, Lee Briers and Garreth Carvell, while young centre Rhys Evans was a tryscorer on his first Super League outing for five months.

Warrington had suffered a shock home defeat by Widnes in their previous match and they looked determined to make amends from the start.

Briers made his mark after just three minutes, producing a lofted kick of pinpoint accuracy for winger Joel Monaghan to score his 23rd Super League try of the season.

Two minutes later a storming break from deep inside his own half set up the position for Grix to get Evans over and Stefan Ratchford's goal made it 10-0.

Saints struggled to get out of their own half at that stage and Warrington tightened their grip when full-back Jonny Lomax lost the ball in a tackle by Mick Higham, who was left with the simple task of touching down.

With Ratchford's second making it 16-0, Brown's response was to send on his captain Paul Wellens but his side fell further behind on 24 minutes when Grix's grubber kick caused confusion in their defence, gifting a try to second rower Trent Waterhouse.

At 22-0, it was beginning to look ugly for the home side but centre Jordan Turner took Jon Wilkin's pass to power his way over for a try and winger Adam Swift added another just before half-time after smart approach work from Wilkin and Lomax, and a clinical final pass from Francis Meli.

The scores injected fresh confidence into St Helens, who dominated the opening exchanges of the second half.

Lance Hohaia, who moved into the hooking role, twice got over the line only to be held up each time but the pressure paid off on 55 minutes when a superb offload from second rower Manu enabled Lomax to cross for his side's third try.

Lomax kicked his second goal from the touchline to cut the gap to just six points but Briers calmed the Wolves' nerves with a drop goal on 65 minutes and Carvell made sure of the win with a last-minute try, with Ratchford adding the extras.

St Helens 16
Tries: Jordan Turner, Adam Swift, Jonny Lomax
Goals: Jonny Lomax 2

Warrington Wolves 29
Tries: Joel Monaghan, Rhys Evans, Micky Higham, Trent Waterhouse, Garreth Carvell
Goals: Stefan Ratchford 4
Field Goals: Lee Briers

Date: Friday 30th August 2013
Venue: Langtree Park
Crowd: 14,715
Referee: R Silverwood
Half Time: Warrington 22-10


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