Warrington Wolves showed a tangible improvement from the last time they met with St Helens, but was not enough to stop Daniel Anderson’s men from making their way into the semi finals of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
Questions remain over whether or not this will be Paul Cullen’s last game at the Warrington helm, but few can deny the fact that the Wolves looked a much better side than when Saints secured a 40-12 win at the Haliwell Jones earlier this month.
It had looked bad early on for Warrington; Adrian Morely had to leave the field through injury after just a few moments of play, and Lee Gilmour grabbed a try at the corner from Willie Talau’s chip kick putting the home side 4-0 up.
The Wolves defence strengthened after this early breach, and soon the visitors were able to hit back, youngster Kevin Penny with a breath-taking run down the left wing, weaving past Paul Wellens to edge his side back into the lead.
Lee Briers added the conversion from a wide angle, and repeated the dose just four minutes later from the opposite side of the field after Henry Fa’afilli had worked his way over the line for Warrington’s second try of the game.
The Wolves held out until half time, and thoughts of an upset mustn’t have been far from their minds; however, quick scores from Willie Talau and Ade Gardner made them realise that this battle was far from over.
A Briers penalty gave Warrington the lead once more, but Saints went back in front when Jon Wilkin and Sean Long combined to send Gilmour over beneath the posts, and Wellens added the home side’s first conversion.
The lead was extended still further with a second Wellens goal, and a long-range drop goal from Long gave St Helens an unassailable 21-14 lead, before a late try from James Roby set the seal on the home side’s victory.