Sunday, September 16, 2012

WOW we WON - Warrington 6-28 St Helens

St Helens' hooker James Roby inspires play-off win over Warrington 

The Saints pack thoroughly worked over a Wolves six on their own midden - and the home side were nilled in the second half for the first time this year.
and me and Mrs beautiful cracked a bottle of Champagne.
It was a big game and I had few expectations of winning because they are so good. They won the Wembley Cup recently. They came second in the Super League table. Yet we were heroic and beat them well and truly.

Last week beat the Pies who were first in Super League.
This week we beat the Second place.
We finished third.

Now it is the skis with home advantage.
The winner of that game goes to the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Warrington 6-28 St Helens
Jonny Lomax of St Helens evades a tackle from Warrington's Brett Hodgson in the Super League play-offs. Photograph: Craig Brough/Action Images
St Helens brought the Super League play-offs to life by stunning Warrington with a victory that was as comprehensive as it was unexpected.
The Wolves were widely expected at least to reach their first Old Trafford Grand Final this autumn, and probably win it, after the authority of their Challenge Cup triumph against Leeds at Wembley last month. But that was reckoning without the play-off nous Saints have developed at the business end of the season, or the attack of big-match jitters that seems to hit Warrington every September.
St Helens have reached the past six Grand Finals, a remarkable record that can be obscured by the fact they have lost the last five, four of them to Leeds. Now they are within 80 minutes of yet another Old Trafford appearance, and will have the luxury of sitting out the second round of the play-offs next weekend – with Wigan, who thrashed the Catalans on Friday night in the other qualifying play-off – while Warrington must play sudden-death rugby from here on.
Inspired by their England hooker James Roby, but without a weak link on the pitch, Saints ran in five tries to one, with their excellent young wing Tommy Makinson accumulating 16 of their points from two tries and five goals. Warrington, who came into the game without two key forwards, Ben Westwood and Ben Harrison, simply had no answers, and suffered further injuries to Brett Hodgson and Garreth Carvell.
It was Hodgson, the hero of Warrington's Challenge Cup final win, who broke the deadlock after a surprisingly nervy first 20 minutes from both teams. He punished a rush of blood by Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, the east Londoner who has made an unusual journey to the St Helens front row, and offloaded the ball forward as he was driven backwards in one of the many ferocious tackles that were flying in. But Saints surged back with two tries late in the first half to take a 12-6 lead. The former St Helens centre Sia Soliola was the key figure in both, taking a Paul Wellens pass to crash over for the equalising try, then pouncing on a Warrington handling error on halfway to send Makinson clear. Makinson converted both tries, but could not land a difficult penalty in first-half stoppage time as Saints continued to look the more dangerous team.
St Helens showed impressive defensive resilience to withstand some Warrington pressure at the start of the second half, then counterpunched to devastating effect to extend that lead. Roby and Jon Wilkin, two forwards who do much of their best work unnoticed, popped their heads over the parapet with perfect passes down the blindside to set Jonny Lomax running free, and the young scrum-half sent Hodgson flying with a dummy before releasing Makinson to gallop 40 metres for his second. Warrington had further attacking chances, but lacked the incisiveness or composure to penetrate the Saints defence.
Roby then removed any doubt about the outcome with a brilliant individual try in the 64th minute, collecting a one-handed offload from Tony Puletua and bouncing and spinning out of several attempted tackles.
Francis Meli added a fifth Saints try as reality dawned on the Warrington supporters that their play-off curse had struck again. This was an eighth defeat in 10 appearances for the Wolves, whereas Saints have that familiar sniff of Old Trafford.