|17th Sep 2006|| Super League||AWAY ||13024 ||(HT:16:28)|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 26 - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : Saints completed an impressive league season with their 24th win of the season against play-off contenders Warrington in a high-scoring game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
However they had to endure a nightmare start against the Wolves, who were seeking to snatch fifth place from Salford in the final round of Super League XI.
The home side, who have only beaten Saints once in the Super League era, scored at a point-a-minute to race into a 16-0 lead to the delight of most of the 13,000 capacity crowd.
Ex-Saint Lee Briers was instrumental as Paul Wood, Richie Barnett and Ben Westwood all touched down but in truth Saints were complicit in their difficulties.
However the attacking potency of the Saints is well-known, no more so than at Warrington where last season Saints scored three tries in six minutes to win the game.
This time the recovery started earlier but was no less devastating: 28 unanswered points in just 20 minutes overturned the Wolves’ lead and gave Saints a two-score advantage at half-time.
Jon Wilkin bounced off Henry Fa’afili to score Saints’ opening try after Keiron Cunningham had put him clear then Ade Gardner squeezed in at the right corner.
Scores were levelled when Paul Wellens finished off a brilliant five-man move with Jamie Lyon’s third conversion edging Saints ahead.
With the away fans chanting ‘We gave you 16 points start!’ Wellens and Gardner both scored their second tries as the Warrington defence evaporated.
However there was a sense of deja vu at the start of the second half. Despite kicking-off the Wolves had scored within a minute through Toa Kohe-Love, then his centre partner, Martin Gleeson, ghosted through eight minutes later to put his side within four points.
Substitute James Roby thought he had scored only for referee Ashley Klein to bring play back for a Saints penalty. No matter, the resulting set ended with Willie Talau getting on the end of Wellens’ grubber.
The game continued to ebb and flow with both sides making mistakes producing an entertaining if not quality game.
Crucially it was Saints who scored next, Vinnie Anderson breaking the line to establish a 14-point lead.
Chris Bridge scored for Wolves to ensure an anxious finish but the buffer provided by that devastating first-half spell proved enough.
Wolves: Chris Riley, Henry Fa’afili, Martin Gleeson, Toa Kohe Love, Richie Barnett, Chris Bridge, Lee Briers, Paul Wood, Mike Sullivan, Paul Rauhihi, Logan Swann, Mike Wainwright, Ben Westwood.
Interchanges: Kevin Penny, Mark Gleeson, Rob Parker, Mike Cooper.
T: Wood, Barnett, Westwood, Kohe Love, Martin Gleeson, Bridge.
G: Briers (3/6)
Saints: Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Jamie Lyon, Willie Talau, Francis Meli, Leon Pryce, Sean Long, Jason Cayless, Keiron Cunningham, Paul Anderson, Lee Gilmour, Jon Wilkin, Mike Bennett.
Interchanges: James Roby, Vinnie Anderson, James Graham, Maurie Fa’asavalu.
T: Gardner (2), Wellens (2), Wilkin, Talau, V Anderson
G: Lyon (5/7)
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