Morley Magic seals derby win
St Helens 22 Warrington Wolves 48
By Rachel Arnett (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst - P&B Photos)
The rivalry between Warrington Wolves and St Helens is renowned for producing classic derby tussles on the pitch.
This evening encounter was set to round off day one of 2013 Magic Weekend in classic derby style.
The two north-west sides went head-to-head earlier this season at the home of the Wolves with the Saints coming out on top with a 22-10 victory over their near rivals. The big stage was set at the Etihad for the Wolves to reverse fortunes in this round 16 fixture.
Which team would make Magic memories for their fans?
Wolves named the same starting line up as last week with just one change on the bench with Adrian Morley returning after his injury spell in place of young forward Glenn Riley.
Saints saw a number of changes from the side that defeated Leeds on Monday night: Wellens and Perry out with Clough and Hohaia in.
The Wolves took a stranglehold on the game in the second minute when Riley opened the scoring and this dominance continued throughout the first half. Saints mounted a comeback to get to within eight points after the restart but the Wolves were able to close it out in the final 10 minutes.
Ratchford got the game underway with the Wolves defending the first set. A Wilkin kick ricocheted into the hands of Grix giving Wolves the attack from just 10 metres out. Play was carried to the left and space opened up for Riley to cross in the corner on two minutes. Ratchford added the extras from the touchline. 0-6.
The Wolves' determination continued in defence as in the next set they tackled Turner into touch on half way to gain possession with strong field position. The Wolves kept the ball alive with Grix coming close. A kick from Ratchford to the left hand corner was collected in the air by Atkins who went on to score the Wolves' second on six minutes. After confirmation of the try from the video referee Ratchford's boot was on target once more to make it 0-12.
Momentum continued in the favour of the primrose and blue with Westwood coming close as the 10-minute mark approached but Saints were able to wrap him up on the last. It was then the turn of Myler to challenge for the line but he was ruled to have knocked on over the line.
On 16 minutes St Helens built some pressure having forced a goal line drop out. They kept the ball alive with quick offloading in the tackle to open up space down the right wing for Gardner to touch down in the corner for their first try. Makinson added the conversion. 6-12.
A knock-on from Wilkin in the next set handed possession to the Wolves who lifted once more to come close through Hill and Myler but a chip kick on the last was wrapped up by Saints to put an end to the attack.
It was to be Saints who scored the next try of the match. A knock-on by Atkins proved costly as a few plays later Turner was over for St Helens. Makinson was unable to add the extras keeping the Wolves in front by two.
The Wolves responded immediately with a second try for Riley. A great breaking run by Grix gave the Wolves field position before quick hands out to the left saw Riley power over with the try awarded after being referred to the video referee. Ratchford's conversion made it 10-18 with 10 minutes of the half remaining.
Wolves continued to create opportunities in the closing stages of the first half piling on the pressure to test the Saints' defence and Briers was the one to find the gap and cross for the Wolves fourth of the evening. Again the try was confirmed by the video referee. The conversion was added 10-24.
And the Wolves were over again through Waterhouse with just a minute left on the clock. The ball passed through several hands; Morley, Myler Atkins and Riley whose pass inside to Waterhouse extended the Wolves' lead on half time. 10-30 with Ratchford's fifth successful conversion.
The second half got off to a steady start with end-to-end play from both sides. Neither team tested their arm in the first 10 minutes as they simply maintained a clean kicking game and power down the middle.
It was Saints who broke the deadlock, peppering the line on 52 minutes. Turner was able to find the gap and cross for a try. Makinson added the conversion to nudge Saints closer 16-30.
The Wolves looked set to respond when Joel Monaghan leapt to collect a high kick by Briers but a forward pass was ruled in his offload to Westwood, giving possession back to Saints. From the resultant set Saints had the pace through Gardner to break away and put Hohaia over. Makinson converted. 22-30.
Control of the game seemed to switch into the hands of Saints in the second half but the desire was still there for all to see from the Wolves as they challenged for field position and a chance to attack the line.
The Wolves converted opportunity into points on 72 minutes; a Saints knock-on gave the field position needed for Waterhouse to stretch over for a try. Ratchford's kick was good. 22-36.
Grix was next in for the Wolves flying over in the right hand corner with just minutes of the game remaining. Wolves kept their cool to gather pace down the wing. Ratchford added the extras once more. 22-42.
A try from captain Adrian Morley rounded the scoring off. Higham made the break and an inside ball to Morley put the forward over under the sticks. The conversion made the final score 22-48.
Lance Hohaia, Ade Gardner, Jordan Turner, Mark Percival, Tom Makinson, Nathan Ashe, Jon Wilkin, Tony Puletua, Stuart Howarth, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Sia Soliola, Willie Manu, Josh Jones
Subs: Luke Thompson, Alex Walmsley, Anthony Laffranchi, Paul Clough
Tries: Gardner, Turner (2), Hohaia
Goals: Makinson (3)
Stefan Ratchford, Chris Riley, Simon Grix, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan, Lee Briers, Richie Myler, Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Mike Cooper
Subs: Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell, Ben Currie
Tries: Riley (2), Atkins, Briers, Waterhouse (2), Grix, Morley
Goals: Ratchford (8)
Half Time: 10-30
25, May, 2013