SAINTS coach Kristian Woolf admitted losing England centre Mark Percival with a recurrence of a hamstring injury and teenage winger Jack Welsby with a head knock were contributing factors to their Challenge Cup quarter final defeat.

"Mark Percival is a key player for us and you could see in the first 15 or 20 minutes how much impact he was going to have on the game," Woolf said after Saints lost narrowly 20-18 against Warrington at Salford. 

Percival was returning after an injury lay off and Woolf said the club will have to find the root of the problem.

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He added: "We thought we had done everything we could to get him right so we've got to figure out what's going on because we can't afford that."

The Saints boss had seen his team run into an early 8-0 lead but they lost control of the tie midway through the second half and Warrington seized the momentum.

Woolf added: "We didn't play our best today, coupled with the fact injuries made things really difficult.

"I was happy with the effort, they played brave, but you certainly don't plan to lose a centre and winger."

Nevertheless, Saints fought back in the second half and would have tied the scores had Lachlan Coote been able to convert Kevin Naiqama's try from the right touchline.

"We were all over the place at the end. The injuries knocked us around," added the coach.

Warrington made the most of a slice of good fortune when Jack Hughes' pass bounced forward off the head of Antohny Gelling into the arms of Josh Charnley for his second try.

"It was lucky wasn't it?" said Woolf. "I obviously don't know the rules because I thought it was accidental offside but they were allowed to play on."

Warrington coach Steve Price said: "I thought that was a fair try. That's the rules, I had no issue with that."

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Price, meanwhile, slammed the game's authorities for banning try celebrations after watching his side reach the last four.

Former England winger Charnley scored two of his side's four tries, where the scores were marked with muted fist pumps.

Price says his players have become demoralised after being threatened with £250 fines for celebrating tries during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I don't agree with that," Price told the post-match press conference. "There is a lot of frustration amongst our players.

"I can't understand how that's been brought in.

"All kids play rugby league for fun and togetherness and I feel the powers above need to show some empathy and sympathy for the players.

"To take away tryscoring celebrations is demoralising and not good for the game.

"The players are going above and beyond to keep this game afloat and you play rugby to celebrate those moments."

A repeat of last year's Wembley final between Super League's form teams lived up to its billing as the holders held on for a victory.

"It was a good old tough game of rugby league," said Price, who was able to recall six players from isolation.

"There were two quality teams going hard at it and we were good enough to get the win.

"I thought we created plenty of opportunities in the first half. We couldn't convert them into points but we were gritty defensively, we kept turning up for each other.

"I was really pleased with the confidence and belief that has been growing over the last couple of weeks.

"They got a lot of confidence out of what the young kids had done.

"We had seven players back and you could tell they were under-done with match fitness but we were good enough to overcome that."

Price was delighted with the performance of centre Gelling, who scored his side's first try and then created one for Charnley.

"It was his best game by far," Price said. "Over on that right edge he was really solid and his carries out of back field were awesome."