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Page last updated at 20:58 GMT, Friday, 24 June 2011 21:58 UK

Warrington 35-28 St Helens

Warrington (18) 35
Tries: M Monaghan, Williams, King, Westwood, Wood, Hodgson
Goals:
Hodgson 5 Drop Goals: Briers
St Helens (22) 28
Tries:Puletua 2, Graham, Gaskell, Foster Goals: Foster 4

Warrington v Saints
Warrington full-back Brett Hodgson is thwarted by Saints' Jon Wilkin

Warrington laid their Halliwell Jones bogey against neighbours St Helens as they won a classic derby thriller.

After leading 18-0 inside 13 minutes thanks to tries from Michael Monaghan, Rhys Williams and Matt King, Saints roared back to lead 22-18 at the break.

Ben Westwood put Wolves back in front against their long-time bogey side, while Paul Wood and Brett Hodgson, who kicked five goals, added two more.

But Lee Briers' late drop goal ended Saints' hopes of another comeback.

Tony Puletua scored twice for Saints, whose other tries came from joint skipper James Graham, Lee Gaskell and Jamie Foster, who kicked four out of his five attempts at goals.

But they could not prevent Warrington's first home win against Saints since their days at Wilderspool in 1991- and only their third win in 40 Super League derbies against their Merseyside neighbours.

And it was all settled by Warrington enjoying two scoring bursts to one at the rain-lashed Halliwell Jones to complete a first Super League double over St Helens and move two points clear at the top.

Warrington raced away to an 18-0 lead inside 12 manic minutes at the start.

Saints hardly knew what had hit them in the opening quarter, conceding the first of six tries inside the opening set of six, while a kick-off by Foster hit the crossbar to bounce "dead".

Saints recovered well, ruining the best defensive record in the League by running in four tries in 18 minutes through the galloping Graham, Gaskell, with a burst down the right, Foster and Puletua.

But the Wolves produced another purple patch at the start of the second half in which they ran in three more tries in 10 minutes to open up a 12-point lead.

Puletua's second try then brought Saints back to within one score, only for Briers to pop over the one-pointer that sealed victory five minutes from time.

Full-back Brett Hodgson, Super League's leading scorer, added five conversions to what proved to be his side's match-clinching sixth try, taking his haul to 256 points for the season.

But victory did come at a cost for Warrington, who were without winger King for the second half after he succumbed to a hip injury sustained in scoring his try in the corner, while captain Adrian Morley went off with a head injury nine minutes into the second half.

POST-MATCH VIEWS

Warrington coach Tony Smith:

"We had a few things go against us. Kingy was struggling after he took that fantastic high ball and Moz had a bit of a head knock. He struggled to go back so we looked after him.

"But it was a good game, particularly for those conditions. The game was full of ebbs and flows, twists and turns, as it always is when Saints and Warrington play each other. We get a lot more satisfaction from one of those games than from the blow-out scores you get against some teams.

"We lost control of that game at different stages and James Graham ran the show for a while. But the good thing is we kept our composure. We had to take the game back into our control and it was fantastic the way my players went about it."

St Helens coach Royce Simmons:

"It just wasn't our night, from the charge-down to every 50-50 call going against us and the ball coming off the crossbar. All the little things went against us.

"At 18-0 down, some sides would probably have said 'that's enough'. They blew us out of the water when we hadn't done too much wrong and to get back twice, I'm pretty proud of the boys.

"It was a pretty good effort under the circumstances. They had to play some good footie to score tries. If we play like we did tonight and we get those 50-50 calls, we win matches."

TEAMS

Warrington: Hodgson; King, Bridge, Atkins, Williams; Briers, Myler; Morley, M Monaghan, Carvell, Grix, Westwood, Harrison.

Replacements: Higham, Wood, Blythe, Solomona.

St Helens: Wellens; Makinson, Soliola, Meli, Foster; Gaskell, Lomax; Graham, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wilkin, Flannery, Puletua.

Replacements: Eastmond, Perry, Moore, Dixon.

Attendance: 13,257.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury).



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see also
Hull KR 16-46 Warrington
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St Helens 18-25 Warrington
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Rugby League on the BBC
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