|13th Feb 2009|| Super League||HOME||17009||HT:8-0|
|MATCH NOTES : Tom Armstrong and Tony Puletua made their respective Saints debuts. |
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 26. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : SAINTS maintained their unbeaten home record against Warrington with yet another stunning comeback.
Four tries in 21 minutes provided the platform before Sean Long fed James Graham to seal a 26-14 win. Saints were 14-0 down early in the second half but turned in a scintillating attacking performance to turnaround the game. A real tight first half had defenses on top, Saints’ D line in particular being very strong on their own line on several occasions. Warrington were 2-0 up through the boot of Chris Hicks and then went further ahead when former Saint Mickey Higham scored a controversial try. After the break Rauhihi popped up with a rare four-pointer, but Lee Gilmour put Saints right back into it. Ade Gardner then scored on his 199th appearance for the Club, before Matt Gidley sold a dummy to the winger to bring Saints even closer. Gidley doubled his tally with around 10 minutes to go and in the process put Saints ahead for the first time, then James Graham did the rest. In front of a packed 17,009 crowd, Tony Puletua made his debut along with Academy starlet Tom Armstrong. Lee Gilmour was passed fit to play as was Jason Cayless who took up a place on the bench. Vinnie Anderson wasn’t named for Warrington but, as expected, Adrian Morley and Garreth Carvell started to give the pack a formidable look. Lee Briers returned to his old club along with Mickey Higham as the Wolves sought their first win at the GPW since 1994.
Warrington kicked off with James Graham driving the ball in from the off. A couple of minutes later Sean Long chipped through to put the Wolves on the back foot. He then repeated the trick to put Chris Riley under pressure. It was a pretty tentative and subdued opening from both sides with both sides probing through quick play the balls around the middle. Warrington gained a penalty on six minutes and drove, through Westwood, to within inches of the line. The ball then went right and was knocked on by Penny at the play the ball. Moments later, Tony Puletua broke through and slipped a nice ball out to Wilkin. Warrington were immediately penalised for offside, and the ball went right up to the Wolves’ line. Seconds later it was in the hands of Gidley, then Gardner who was just forced into touch as he put down. Gardner then took a high bomb from Briers under pressure from Hicks. Matt Gidley and Ade Gardner stayed defensively strong to keep out a rampaging Matt King. A quarter of the game gone and Warrington were starting to get on top until Gilmour ran Saints down the wing into good field position. On the last, Wilkin was taken out by Carvell as he chased a Leon Pryce dab through, and Saints had a set on the Wire line. But after winning another penalty, the ball was put to ground. It was a big set for the Saints who needed to relieve the pressure on their own line. On 25 minutes with Warrington right on Saints line, they won another set of six. Johnson was then held up inches short when he should have passed, then Warrington gained another six when Armstrong was really unlucky to have grounded in goal, following Westwood’s offload. Saints were defending their line stoutly, on the opposition’s third set, and then Ade Gardner popped up with the ball. On 30 minutes, Chris Hicks kicked a penalty after Maurie Fa’asavalu was caught for a high shot to put the Wolves ahead. And minutes later Mickey Higham sneaked through to grab his side’s first try of 2009. The score was somewhat controversial as the play the ball from Louis Anderson was very dodgy indeed. Hicks making it 8-0.
Half Time: Saints 0 v Warrington 8
Saints needed to get off to a flyer in the second half and they found themselves right on their own line after a nice kick by Briers, well defended by Armstrong. Rauhihi then appeared to have a hand on the ball when Fa’asavalu took it in, but Warrington were given the scrum. Briers cheeky kick through then gave the Wolves another set of six. And on their next set, the ball came out from Reilly and Rauhihi popped over. Hicks with the extras. But Saints hit back straight away. After Carvell knocked on, the ball went wide and Gilmour was streaking in for his first of the season. Game on. On 53 minutes Saints won a penalty right on Warrington’s line. After two tough drives, the ball went through hands once again to Gidley then to Gardner who put down under pressure. Smith referred it upstairs to Ben Thaler, who gave it the nod. Seven minutes later Anderson was held up over the line by some great defending by Matt Gidley. And it was that man who put Saints on the brink of a remarkable comeback. Long this time the architect, delaying his pass long enough to put the former Newcastle Knight over. With 15 minutes to go, Saints were on fire and starting to knock holes in the Wolves’ defence at will. Pryce almost broke through, then Long produced a magnificent kick to put them on their own line. Morley flattened Gardner a minute later to give the home side another set on the Wolves’ line. And from the tap, the ball was kept through hands, over to Gardner who cut back to find Gidley unmarked to put Saints ahead. Moments later Gardner cut through the Warrington defence to set up space for Longy who fed a rampaging Graham. Longy then kicked his first of the match - and brought up his 2500th point in the red vee. Armstrong crossed for a try at the death to finish the game off.
Copyright © Saints Heritage Society 1999-2022