Wolves triumph in final match of #magicweekend
Warrington Wolves 41, St Helens 24
By Liam Williams
Warrington Wolves brought a record-breaking Magic Weekend to a spectacular close by holding off a second-half fightback from St Helens to complete a comfortable win.
On a day which saw 28,214 fans create a magical atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium – and set a new weekend attendance record of 64,552 in the process – the Wolves turned on the style with some champagne rugby.
Saints spent much of the first 40 minutes in their own half and conceded four tries through Gene Ormsby, Rhys Evans (2) and Chris Hill but came to life after half an hour to close the gap through Alex Walmsley.
St Helens struggled to build on the momentum they had built at the end of the first half, however, and conceded tries through Joel Monaghan and Matty Russell following the restart but hit back through Jordan Turner, Lance Hohaia and Matt Dawson before Joel Monaghan scored his second try to seal the win.
Strong defending from both sides kept the scores level early on but after being awarded a fresh set of six on the Saints line, a Warrington try was inevitable and Ormsby dived in to break the deadlock.
Jonny Lomax's restart, which went out on the full, allowed Warrington to score a second try in quick succession as Trent Waterhouse offloaded to Evans, who scored in the corner.
Saints struggled to test the Warrington line in the first 20 minutes and were punished when Hill showed good footwork to get around Lomax and score the Wolves' third try.
Warrington added a fourth before half-time after Chris Bridge's grubber was deflected into the path of Stefan Ratchford, who found Evans in the corner.
Saints came close to posting their first try on the half hour when Jon Wilkin broke through, but his pass was spilled as Jordan Turner tried to bring it down.
St Helens started to see more of the ball and another break through the Wolves defence saw Ormsby sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul which eventually allowed Saints to score their first try.
Two minutes before half-time Walmsley received Luke Walsh's pass after the scrum-half sold a dummy, leaving the prop to go over between the posts, with Walsh's conversion leaving Saints 18-6 down at the break.
Sloppy play from Hohaia set up the position from which Evans found Atkins on the inside to pull away from St Helens.
More careless defending let Warrington in for their sixth try as Joel Monaghan fended off a challenge from Matt Dawson to dive over the line.
Warrington looked to have put the game to bed when Russell carried the ball from his own half, with Luke Thompson and Tommy Makinson chasing in vain.
Saints gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Turner bundled his way over the line despite the best efforts of Evans and Atkins before posting their third try with 22 minutes left on the clock through Hohaia.
The momentum had swung in St Helens' favour and they scored a third try of the half through Dawson, for Walsh's conversion to put them 12 behind with 14 minutes to play.
Warrington stopped the rot with a drop-goal from Ratchford, requiring three Saints tries in the last 10 minutes, and a breakaway from Joel Monaghan put the game beyond all doubt as Wire entered the closing stages 41-24 ahead.
1 Matty Russell
18 Rhys Evans
5 Joel Monaghan
4 Ryan Atkins
29 Gene Ormsby
3 Chris Bridge
6 Stefan Ratchford
8 Chris Hill
14 Michael Monaghan
19 Anthony England
11 Trent Waterhouse
12 Ben Westwood
15 Ben Harrison
9 Mickey Higham
10 Roy Asotasi
23 James Laithwaite
25 Ben Evans
1 Jonny Lomax
2 Tommy Makinson
3 Jordan Turner
4 Josh Jones
26 Matt Dawson
6 Lance Hohaia
7 Luke Walsh
18 Alex Walmsley
9 James Roby
25 Anthony Walker
12 Jon Wilkin
23 Joe Greenwood
10 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook
28 Luke Thompson
8 Mose Masoe
11 Sia Soliola
17 Paul Wellens
Warrington Wolves 41, (Tries: Ormsby, Evans 2, Hill, Atkins, J Monaghan 2, Russell; Goals: Bridge 4; Drop goals: Ratchford) St Helens 24 (Tries: Walmsley, Turner, Hohaia, Dawson; Goals: Walsh 4).