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Warrington Wolves 10-12 St Helens: Reigning Super League champions hold out for nail-biting win

First-half converted tries from Alex Walmsley and Tommy Makinson proved enough to give Saints victory over Warrington; Gareth Widdop and George Williams tries, plus one conversion from Stefan Ratchford, accounted for Warrington’s tally

Last Updated: 19/05/22 11:27pm



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Highlights of the Super League match between Warrington Wolves and St Helens

Highlights of the Super League match between Warrington Wolves and St Helens

Tommy Makinson was able to celebrate a victory on his 250th Betfred Super League appearance as an out-of-sort St Helens held out for a 12-10 victory over Warrington Wolves.

Alex Walmsley’s try in bizarre circumstances and Makinson’s 14th of the season helped St Helens, despite not being at their best in attack, into a 12-4 lead at the break after Gareth Widdop’s opener for the hosts.

George Williams’ converted try gave the Wolves hope of snatching a memorable win, but they could not unlock the reigning champions’ defence again – with the impressive Connor Wrench left to wonder what might have been as he was somehow caught while breaking away in the closing stages.

Story of the game

Although Warrington remain eighth in the table with just two wins in their last 10 Super League games, head coach Daryl Powell will be enthused by what he saw from his side and in particular be delighted with his decision to switch a fit-again Widdop to full-back in place of the injured Josh Thewlis, with Stefan Ratchford continuing at stand-off.

It looked like a gamble but Widdop was rock-solid as a last line of defence and made his mark on attack, creating a try for Williams along with crossing himself.

Tommy Makinson scored a try to help St Helens to victory on his 250th Super League appearance

Tommy Makinson scored a try to help St Helens to victory on his 250th Super League appearance

The game saw Saints captain James Roby make the 550th appearance of his career and move into second place in the Super League appearances record behind Kevin Sinfield on 453.

Peter Mata’utia, facing younger brother Sione in the Saints three-quarter line, drew first blood in the family duel when his precision pass enabled winger Wrench to scoot down the wing and Widdop was in support to score the game’s opening try.

St Helens' Alex Walmsley pounced to level the score against Warrington

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St Helens’ Alex Walmsley pounced to level the score against Warrington

St Helens’ Alex Walmsley pounced to level the score against Warrington

Warrington Wolves: Tries – Gareth Widdop, George Williams; Goals – Stefan Ratchford.

St Helens: Tries – Alex Walmsley, Tommy Makinson; Goals – Tommy Makinson (2).

As has become their recent trait, Saints were slow starters and produced all sorts of errors in the opening quarter but it was not long before they began to show their true mettle.

The build-up to their first try was something of comedy of errors, as Warrington lost control of a scrum on their own 10-metre line in the face of a Saints push and prop Walmsley was able to dribble the ball forward before picking up to touch down, with Makinson converting.

Saints struck again just before half-time when the Wolves failed to deal with Jonny Lomax’s high kick. The loose ball was fed back to Roby and Agnatius Paasi, Lomax and Konrad Hurrell all combined to work Makinson over at the corner, from where he was able to kick the conversion to establish an eight-point cushion.

The champions were now in the ascendancy, and they went close to extending their lead early in the second half when player of the match Jack Welsby sliced clean through the first line of defence only to be hauled down short of the tryline by Wrench.

George Williams scored an amazing try to bring Warrington closer to equalizing against St Helens

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George Williams scored an amazing try to bring Warrington closer to equalizing against St Helens

George Williams scored an amazing try to bring Warrington closer to equalizing against St Helens

Warrington’s pacey left winger Matty Ashton then got back in similar fashion to halt Hurrell, who had looked to be a certain tryscorer after pulling off an interception on halfway and Roby then stretched out of a tackle to plant the ball on the line only to find a defender’s boot instead.

Warrington’s gutsy defence began to pay off when Mata’utia gave Widdop the opportunity to counter-attack after collecting Welsby’s high kick and Williams was in support to finish off with a thrilling try.

Ratchford’s conversion cut the deficit to just two points and, as the action swung from end to end, Saints were indebted to Lomax for a crucial tackle on Ashton in full flight while Wrench also went close with a break from deep a minute from the end.

What they said

Warrington Wolves head coach Daryl Powell

Warrington Wolves head coach Daryl Powell believes that Gareth Widdop is an option at full-back after his stellar performance against St Helens

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Warrington Wolves head coach Daryl Powell believes that Gareth Widdop is an option at full-back after his stellar performance against St Helens

Warrington Wolves head coach Daryl Powell believes that Gareth Widdop is an option at full-back after his stellar performance against St Helens

“I thought Gareth Widdop was excellent [at full-back]. He got put under a lot of pressure; you know what Saints do, they put you in corners. He was really brave going and getting the ball, and that was a special try he set up.

“It’s outstanding from him. He’s got a great instinct for the game and full-back or half, he’s a quality player.”

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf felt his team out themselves under too much pressure

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St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf felt his team out themselves under too much pressure

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf felt his team out themselves under too much pressure

“I thought our effort was great and we came to play. I thought we put ourselves under pressure with too many errors and were a little uncharacteristic in that area.

“But as long as they turn around and want to do defend the way they did, turn up with the effort they did they’re always going to give themselves a chance and that was what they did tonight.”

What’s next?

Both teams have a week off for the Betfred Challenge Cup final, but Warrington return to action on Friday, June 3 at home to Leeds Rhinos live on Sky Sports. St Helens, meanwhile, travel to Toulouse Olympique the following day.



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