St Helens win comes at a cost, Alex Walmsley left to sweat on Match Review Panel, semi-finals confirmed – Five takeaways as Saints made to work against Warrington

Josh McAllister
St Helens' Alex Walmsley high fives team-mate Lewis Dodd.

St Helens' Alex Walmsley high fives team-mate Lewis Dodd. Photo by Gareth Evans/News Images.

St Helens will travel to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons in the Super League semi-finals following their 16-8 win over Warrington at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

However, there are several reasons that will leave Saints fans sweating ahead of next week’s trip to France.

Here are our five takeaways from Saturday’s televised fixture.

Semi-finals confirmed

Saturday’s result has now officially confirmed the semi-finals next week. Hull KR claimed Wembley revenge with a 20-6 victory at Craven Park over Leigh Leopards on Friday night.

Willie Peters’ side will face League Leaders’ Shield winners Wigan Warriors on Saturday at the DW Stadium, 12:45pm, with St Helens set to travel to Catalans Dragons on Friday, 8:00pm UK.

St Helens win comes at cost

The win for the reigning champions came at a cost as star back-rower Joe Batchelor was forced from the action in the opening minutes in the eliminator play-off.

Batchelor, 28, grabbed at his hamstring after assisting Tommy Makinson’s break early on and instantly left the field, replaced by James Bell.

A confirmed hamstring tear will rule the England international out for the remainder of the play-offs, having been sidelined earlier in July through a hamstring injury.

He also suffered an ankle blow during the club’s trip Down Under in February for the World Club Challenge, and later returned to action in April.

Alex Walmsley left to sweat on Match Review Panel 

St Helens powerhouse Alex Walmsley will be sweating on the outcome of Monday’s Match Review Panel following his sin-bin against Warrington.

The veteran prop, 33, was sent to the sin-bin by official Ben Thaler for an alleged high tackle on opposition forward Jordan Crowther in the early stages of the second half.

Ex-team-mate-turned-pundit Kyle Amor wasn’t completely sold on the incident, but a ban will see Walmsley miss the trip to Catalans in the semi-finals.

Walmsley only made a remarkable early return from injury for the Round 27 clash with Hull, having been expected to miss the rest of the season following an MCL injury sustained in the Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Leigh.

Home farewells for Roby and LMS

Club legends James Roby and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook have now played their final home games at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Saints skipper Roby, 37, will call time on his illustrious career at the end of 2023 having broken appearance records for both his club and in Super League.

London-born LMS, also 37, will remain in the area and pursue a career with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service following his playing career.

The pair will forever hold legendary statuses in the town, with Roby taken off on the hour mark for Moses Mbye, his last minutes at home.

Sam Burgess should be encouraged

Incoming Warrington Wolves head coach Sam Burgess will be encouraged by his side’s performance, despite the defeat.

Thomas Mikaele missed the clash through injury, and with Paul Vaughan suspended, it was a tough ask in the battle of the middles, with Peter Mata’utia named on the bench,. But they held their own.

Centre Connor Wrench scored the side’s only try with a confident finish, opting to throw the dummy and go himself instead of passing to support with Jack Welsby in defence.

The side stayed in the game and scrambled well in the first half, with Matty Ashton a stand-out player.

England and NRL legend Burgess will arrive ahead of the 2024 campaign on a two-year deal and should be heartened with what he’s seen from Down Under.

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