Saints thrash closest rivals Warrington to go top
|Betfred Super League|
|St Helens (20) 38|
|Tries: Percival, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lomax, Lees, Grace, Makinson Goals: Coote 7|
|Warrington Wolves (6) 12|
|Tries: Austin, D Clark Goals: Ratchford 2|
St Helens won the battle of Super League’s leading two clubs to overtake Warrington at the top of the table.
Mike Cooper’s yellow card for a high tackle turned the game in the favour of the hosts, who scored twice in quick succession while he was off the field to lead by 14 points at half-time.
The Wire got back to within eight when Daryl Clark crossed after the break.
But Saints scored three more tries, including a stunning 70-metre effort from Regan Grace, to seal victory.
Matty Lees and England winger Tommy Makinson touched down either side of Grace’s score to send Justin Holbrook’s team two points clear at the top of the table.
Both sides went into the hotly anticipated match with eight wins from their first nine games, and a close contest was expected.
The early exchanges promised as much, with Saints’ Mark Percival replying to Blake Austin’s opener for Warrington.
However, the result rarely looked in doubt once St Helens had taken full advantage of Cooper’s 10-minute absence in the sin-bin for catching Danny Richardson with a high shot.
Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook powered over from close range and Jonny Lomax dummied his way past two Warrington tacklers to put Saints 20-6 in front.
Clark’s try could have been the catalyst for a Warrington fightback, but that prospect quickly disappeared when they conceded almost immediately, Lees profiting from the Wire’s failure to deal with Lachlan Coote’s high bomb to score under the posts.
St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:
“I’m extremely pleased. The way we played the 80 minutes was outstanding.
“It’s a good win. We know how dangerous Warrington are. It’s a long season but that’s an important win.”
Warrington head coach Steve Price:
“We clearly got dominated in all aspects of the game. We just didn’t hit those marks tonight.
“20 minutes after half-time, we were getting back into the groove and we got back within eight, but then they scored the kick-try under the posts.
“Full credit to St Helens – they wanted it more than us and they played accordingly. We’ve got a big Easter period and we’ll get ready for Salford on Friday.”
St Helens: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Thompson, Roby, Walmsley, Peyroux, Taia, Knowles.
Interchanges: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Lees.
Warrington: Ratchford; Lineham, Atkins, King, Charnley; Austin, Patton; Hill, D Clark, Cooper, Currie, Philbin, Hughes.
Interchanges: Murdoch-Masila, J Clark, Tasi, Davis.
Referee: James Child