Warrington Wolves secured a memorable victory tonight at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, convincingly defeating St Helens 19-0 in a win that was achieved without their suspended captain Chris Hill.
St Helens sprang a surprise shortly before the kick-off when they revealed that Alex Walmsley had pulled out of the game after the warm-up, with Matty Lees coming off the bench to replace him and Joe Batchelor coming onto the bench.
But Walmsley’s absence seemed to unsettle St Helens and Warrington went on the offensive from the start, continuing their offloading game that was apparent against Wigan.
They took the lead with a Stefan Ratchford penalty on 18 minutes and ten minutes later they thought they had taken the lead when Daryl Clark scooted over from dummy-half, but the try was disallowed by the video-referee because it didn’t appear to have been grounded.
But three minutes later Clark played the same move, and this time there was no doubt about it, although Ratchford missed a relatively easy conversion.
The Wolves then scored seven more points through Tom Lineham, after the Saints defence had failed to cope with a Ratchford bomb, and this time Ratchford converted from the touchline. And Blake Austin added a field-goal to give the Wolves a 13-0 lead at half-time.
And they kept up the pressure in the second half, with Josh Charnley scoring in the corner after some crisp passing and an assist from Matty Ashton, and although Ratchford couldn’t add the goal he added a later penalty to secure a convincing victory.
Wolves: Ashton, Lineham, Gelling, King, Charnley, Austin, Ratchford, Philbin, D Clark, Cooper, Currie, Murdoch-Masila, J Clark; Subs: Akauola, Davis, Walker, Burrell
Tries: Clark, Lineham, Charnley Goals: Ratchford 3 Field Goal: Austin
Saints: Welsby, Naiqama, Costello, Percival, Grace, Fages, Lomax, Lees, Bentley, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook; Subs: Batchelor, Paulo, Ashworth, Smith
A full report and photos from this game will feature in Monday’s issue of League Express.