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St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Match report

St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Wolves move one step closer to double after Waterhouse clinches win

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UPDATED:

21:18 GMT, 29 September 2012

Warrington are 80 minutes away from the elusive double after coming from 14-6 down to win their Super League play-off semi-final against St Helens at Langtree Park and secure a first Grand Final appearance.

Two tries in a three-minute spell midway through the second half from Australian forward Trent Waterhouse clinched victory for the Wolves, who will meet Leeds at Old Trafford next Saturday in a repeat of last month's Challenge Cup final which they won 35-18.

Warrington, who will become only the sixth club to contest the Grand Final, ran in four second-half tries to thwart Saints' bid for a seventh successive trip to Old Trafford and bring Mike Rush's reign as caretaker coach to a sorry end.

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

St Helens, the last team to do the double in 2006, dominated the first half and ought to have been further ahead than 14-12 at the break but they quickly ran out of steam when Warrington got their second wind in the second half.

The Wolves, who lost to Saints in the opening round of the play-offs, were boosted by the return of Man of Steel contender Ben Westwood for his first appearance since Wembley but it was his second row partner Waterhouse who stole the show.

The former Kangaroo international was a Grand Final winner in the NRL with Penrith Panthers back in 2003 and will fancy his chances of doing the double.

Yet Saints had looked the more dangerous side throughout the first half with right winger Tommy Makinson going close and left winger Francis Meli denied by a forward pass from Jon Wilkin and it was no surprise when they opening the scoring on 11 minutes.

Makinson had no right to score after taking Chris Flannery's pass with Chris Riley still to beat but he produced an acrobatic dive to get around his man and plant the ball over the line.

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

It was against the run of play that Warrington took the lead on 17 minutes, with Wilkin conceding possession with a knock-on 30 metres from his own line and Richie Myler combining with Brett Hodgson to get Riley over at the corner.

Hodgson's touchline conversion made it 6-4 but Saints remained unfazed and they looked to have seized control with two tries in a 10-minute spell.

Second rower Mark Flanagan took the ball to the Warrington line of defenders to suck in their defence and his long, looping pass gave Meli the space to cross at the corner.

The big Kiwi would have had a second try but for a last-ditch tackle from Hodgson but the Warrington full-back blotted his copybook shortly afterwards, spilling Wilkin's towering kick to present his opposite number Paul Wellens with the easiest of scores.

Makinson kicked his first conversion at the third attempt to make it 14-6 but Warrington scored what proved to be a crucial try two minutes before the interval when loose forward Simon Grix charged onto Lee Briers' pass.

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

The visitors were back in front eight minutes into the second half when right winger Joel Monaghan was first to Briers' high kick and, although he dropped the ball, it went backwards and he had the presence of mind to gather it back up and touch down.

Hodgson maintained his accuracy with his third goal to make it 18-14 and the Wolves produced some tremendous defence to keep their lead intact before hitting a purple patch in which they ran in three tries in seven minutes.

The impressive Waterhouse supported a break by centre Ryan Atkins to score his first before powering through a tiring defence for his second while Riley finished off a smart crossfield passing move to claim the visitors' sixth try.

Meli stopped the rot with a consolation try eight minutes from the end but Hodgson wrapped up the scoring with a penalty to take his goal tally to six from seven attempts.

St Helens 30 London Broncos 0: Wellens double inspires Saints

St Helens 30 London Broncos 0: Wellens double inspires Saints

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 31 August 2012

Saints skipper Paul Wellens struck at the double to move his side nearer a top four play-off spot.

Mark Flanagan also crossed twice for Saints who led only 6-0 until just before the break.

The Broncos were in confident mood
after three wins in a row – the last a 62-18 hammering of cup winners
Warrington a fortnight ago.

Going over: Paul Wellens scores the fourth try for St Helens

Going over: Paul Wellens scores the fourth try for St Helens

London were missing Chris Bailey, Chris Melling and Michael Witt, with Dan Sarginson still out after a month's absence with an ankle problem.

Saints welcomed back Jon Wilkin and Josh Jones to compensate for the loss of Michael Shenton and Chris Flannery.

Saints, who won 34-24 at the Stoop on the opening day of the season, took only three minutes to go ahead when Tony Puletua burst on to a James Roby pass to score near the posts and Jonny Lomax converted.

Saints took advantage of a high tackle by Tony Clubb on Roby in the build-up to Puletua's opener.

Clubb made amends by intercepting a Lomax pass to deny Saints a second try and Broncos hit back to apply pressure.

Referee Richard Silverwood awarded 10 penalties in a stop-start opening 17 minutes. Saints introduced Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook off the bench midway through the first half and he immediately made his presence felt against his old club with some tough tackling.

A storming burst by Sol Soliola tested the Broncos defence, which was equal to the task until another penalty allowed Lomax to carve out a try for Mark Flanagan after 35 minutes.

Lomax missed the straightforward conversion to leave Saints ahead 10-0 with Paul Wellens having a try disallowed just before the break for a forward pass.

Saints made a storming start to the second half with Luke Dorn, making his 200th appearance in the British game, forced to race back to pull off a try-saving tackle on Francis Meli.

But a blunder by Omari Caro, who failed to collect a Lomax kick, led to Flanagan's second try after 45 minutes to make it 14-0.

Then Wellens added Saints' fourth touchdown to score for his fifth successive match but Lomax missed his third conversion from four attempts.

Clubb was held up over the line for the Broncos before Wellens took Puletua's pass to grab his second try and make it 24-0 on the hour.

Dorn almost notched a Broncos try in front of the 13,262 crowd but was recalled for a forward pass from Chad Randall.

London held out until Anthony Laffranchi crashed over for the final try in the last minute

Salford 10 St Helens 32: Saints making late surge under Rush

Salford 10 St Helens 32: Saints making late surge under Rush

PUBLISHED:

22:40 GMT, 22 June 2012

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UPDATED:

22:40 GMT, 22 June 2012

Mike Rush hailed Jon Wilkin's impact as St Helens produced 32 unanswered points to secure a dogged win.

Saints came back from 10-0 down after Vinnie Anderson and Danny Williams had got the Reds off to a flyer and Rush said: 'Jon's been in good form a few weeks now. He pushes, kicks and defends really well.

'He's having a very good season for us. We took our chances well.'

Thomas Makinson of St Helens (L) evades a tackle from Jodie Broughton of Salford City to score their third try

Thomas Makinson of St Helens (L) evades a tackle from Jodie Broughton of Salford City to score their third try

Josh Jones and Lance Hohaia levelled the scores for Saints before Wilkin's high kick saw Tommy Makinson edge the visitors ahead. Tries for Jonny Lomax, Michael Shenton and Paul Wellens sealed the points.

'We were in the game right until the end. I'm disappointed for a lot of the guys in the dressing room,' said Salford boss Phil Veivers.

Salford let slip a 10-0 lead against St Helens for the second time this season as Rush's men continued their impressive run in the Stobart Super League.

The Reds conceded 38 points without reply in going down 38-10 at Langtree Park in February and there was a touch of deja vu as they were once more unable to maintain their early promise, with Saints finishing strongly at the City of Salford Stadium.

Saints have now lost just two of 11 league matches under Rush and Keiron Cunningham, both to leaders Wigan, and have their sights set firmly on a seventh consecutive Grand Final appearance.

Salford have little left to play for apart from pride but the final scoreline did little justice to their efforts, with the visitors running in three converted tries in the last six minutes. St Helens were without prop Josh Perry but they had all nine players involved in last Saturday's internationals and two of them, Lance Hohaia and Jonny Lomax, especially caught the eye.

Yet Salford dominated the first half, highlighted by touches of class from stand-off Daniel Holdsworth in particular, and they deserved their 10-6 half-time lead.

Hohaia breached the Salford line midway through the first half but referee James Child had spotted an obstruction and it was the Reds who opened the scoring three minutes later.

Inevitably, Holdsworth was at the heart of the move as he supplied the final pass for former St Helens back rower Vinnie Anderson to go past Paul Wellens for a try, to which Holdsworth added the conversion.

Hohaia had another try disallowed, this time for a knock-on, before Salford stretched their lead through Danny Williams.

The former Newcastle Falcons winger, who this week signed a new two-year contract, produced a superb finish after Salford ran the ball on the last tackle and Chris Nero cleverly drew the Saints defence out of position.

St Helens hauled themselves back into the game just before the break when centre Josh Jones collected Hohaia's towering kick to touch down and Tom Makinson added the goal to cut the gap to four points.

It was all square two minutes into the second half when Hohaia went over from dummy half for Saints' second try and the visitors went in front for the first time on 53 minutes when Jon Wilkin's kick hung in the wind and enabled centre Michael Shenton to get Makinson over at the corner.

Makinson was unable to master the wind with either of his latest conversion attempts but, at 14-10, the momentum was firmly with the visitors.

The Reds continued to look lively but they suffered a blow when tough-tackling forward Shannon McPherson hobbled off on 65 minutes and there was no way back for them when Wellens tapped the ball back from Wilkin's high kick for Lomax to touch down.

Saints then made sure with two further tries through Shenton, who followed up his own grubber kick, and Wellens, with substitute Lee Gaskell kicking three conversions.