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Saints suffer misery at Magic again
AS video nasties go, this was another movie Saints fans have witnessed at the Etihad too many times before.
Another big game, and for all intents and purposes, another no-show from the men in the red vee until the game was gone.
Despite a second half flourish, which saw Saints narrow a 36-6 deficit to a two score lead, it was another disappointing day on the big stage for Nathan Brown’s men.
Wolves dominated from the off both in attack and defence and for the first half hour of the match Saints hardly, if ever, crossed the opposition 20 metre zone.
Saints struggled to get good yardage early on and Luke Walsh, in contrast to Chris Bridge, was constantly kicking on the back foot.
Defensively Saints were unable to stem the Wolves flow of offloads and with the ball they came up with a series of brain implosions that saw them throw desperation passes that simply gave up field position.
Wolves must have thought it was Christmas again.
Saints got off to their now traditional awful start and Wolves’ tails were up from the moment Jonny Lomax was tackled behind the line after fielding a Bridge kick.
Wolves started their first half points procession with tries from Gene Ormsby, Rhys Evans, twice, and Chris Hill giving them an 18-0 lead before Saints had even had any chance to attack.
But the number of times Saints made half breaks but threw the ball away constantly saw good work undone.
As happens when a team is dominant, the 50:50s went Wolves’ way too – but Saints needed to take that out of the equation.
Saints finally got in the game after a Walsh break and kick saw Ormsby sin-binned for a professional foul on Lomax on the Wolves line.
Saints crossed the whitewash two minutes before the break when Walsh’s cleverly delayed pass was taken by Alex Walmsley.
It was Saints’ first real spell of pressure and so half time came at the wrong time.
Saints needed to score first so when Ryan Atkins went over after Wolves kept the ball alive the game went into free fall for a spell.
Joel Monaghan and Matty Russell pushed the margin to 30 points and it looked like it was going to be even more embarrassing with 30 minutes to play.
But Jordan Turner cashed in on good work from Lomax and Joe Greenwood to power over.
And a comeback was on when Lance Hohaia dashed in from Paul Wellens’ pass after good work from Sia Soliola.
And with 15 minutes to play, Matt Dawson went in at the corner to close it to 36-24.
But that was simply papering over the cracks of another lethargic performance in which Saints failed to match the enthusiasm of the opposition.
A Stefan Ratchford drop goal pricked Saints’ recovery and then with Saints chasing the game Joel Monaghan collected a desperate pass wide to race 60 metres.
Saints had one last go, but Tommy Makinson was foiled at the corner by Russell.
That late flourish by the Saints will do nothing to stop the soul searching that will be going through the town and the club tonight.
Saints: Lomax; Makinson, Turner, Jones, Dawson; Hohaia, Walsh; Walmsley, Roby, Walker, Wilkin, Greenwood, McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Subs: Thompson, Masoe, Soliola, Wellens.
Warrington: Russell; Evans, J. Monaghan, Ormsby; Bridge, Ratchford; Hill, M. Monaghan, England, Waterhouse, Westwood, Harrison. Subs: Higham, Asotasi, Laithwaite, B. Evans.