IT was the same old story – Saints once again falling short in the game that really mattered to come away from the big stage empty handed.

Perhaps that is harsh – for had they had a couple more calls, namely the Morgan Knowles ‘no try’ in the first half and the wrong repeat set that led to Warrington’s first try by Joe Philbin, then maybe it would have been a different ball than an 18-4 loss.

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Not going to the screen for Knowles’ early try from a Theo Fages grubber, was a sickener and pivotal moment – and that would have tested the Wolves mettle had it stood.

Instead it was Saints who began to make handling errors, gifting Warrington field position and allowing their kickers opportunities to pick their spot.

In contrast, despite making good yards and half breaks, Saints' last tackle kicking was disappointing, rarely asking questions and then increasingly opting to die with the ball inside the Wire 10m.

It all contributed to their eventual demise.

That they fell behind after another harsh call – with the ref not spotting that the Warrington man had knocked the ball on to Regan Grace – saw the Wolves grow a leg.

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Interchange prop Joe Philbin rumbled over from close range, and still Saints could not get a toe-hold in the game.

But you knew it was one of those afternoons when Lachlan Coote, playing his first game for six weeks, let a high ball slip through his fingers.

Ben Murdoch-Masila rumbling over in the subsequent set was inevitable.

Saints were probably relieved to get half time – if only to get some words in their ears and take stock.

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The half time stats told their own story, with Saints having eight errors to Warrington’s two, and only 77 play the balls to Warrington’s 92.

That is an awful lot more tackling, particularly in the heat.

And it became a vicious circle, with fatigue leading to errors, leading to a need to chase the game.

Those errors became contagious – some of them being straightforward dropped passes.

With a 12-point cushion Warrington needed to keep Saints at an arm’s length – and that is what they did.

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When Saints did get within striking distance they fashioned a chance for Tommy Makinson to dash in at the corner, but centre Bryson Goodwin had managed to attack the wingman’s arm as he touched down with the ball going loose.

A monumental tackling stint saw Saints pin the Wolves back, forcing Declan Patton to kick on the back foot.

It lifted the crowd, and after an Alex Walmsley charge, Fages dummied and darted over.

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It was game back on, but the roars of the fans were soon drowned out by the sound of the balloon being deflated with Coote’s conversion miss.

It was as good as a try to Warrington, given the two-score margin then.

Saints tried, they mix mixed it up and tried to push plays and inside balls - but that urgency led to errors.

Even before Daryl Clark went over, there was a strong feeling that this was not going to be Saints’ day again.

And as the Saints fans, who came with such confidence, shuffled out – that feeling of let down in another game that really mattered will hang over them.

Saints will now have that ghost haunting them until the play-offs, where they will have one last chance under Justin Holbrook to mark this period that has promised so much with real silverware.

St Helens Star:

Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Fages; Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Knowles. Subs: Paulo, LMS, Ashworth and Amor.

Warrington: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley; Currie, Patton; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Murdoch-Masila, Hughes, J Clark. Subs: Akauola, Philbin, Davis, Mamo.