Saints left Wembley empty handed after Warrington prevailed 18-4 in the Coral Challenge Cup Final.
Inside an electric Wembley Stadium on a red-hot cup final day it was Saints who started the better of the two teams and were unfortunate not to lead after Morgan Knowles seemed to touch the ball down only for referee Robert Hicks to deem the ball had ran dead. Replays had shown the try could have been given.
Saints continued to put Warrington under pressure forcing repeat sets with Lachlan Coote chasing his own kick and tackling Mike Cooper in his in goal area. From the resulting set Jonny Lomax found Zeb Taia with an offload and he went for the line, but the video referee deemed he had knocked on before Mark Percival touched down.
Warrington then hit Saints with the sucker punch, taking the lead with the next play through Joe Philbin as the forward took a short ball and raced clear to open the scoring. Ratchford added the extras.
Warrington extended their lead with Jack Hughes finding Ben Murdoch-Masila with a short ball and he crashed over from close range. Ratchford kicking the conversion giving Warrington a 12-0 lead at the break.
The second half started at a frantic pace with both sides having tries chalked off by the video referee. First Tom Lineham was denied as he scooted from dummy half, but via the leg of Goodwin. Obstruction was the call.
Then Saints thought we were back in the game as the ball found its way out wide to Tommy Makinson, but an excellent tackle from Bryson Goodwin meant our flying winger lost the ball before he could touch down.
Saints continued to press with both sets of defences standing firm and the battle was clearly through the middle. Saints went close again with Fages making the break and running forty metres before the ball found it’s way out wide to Joseph Paulo and his grubber kick was collected by Ben Currie who found the gap. It took an excellent try saving tackle from Fages to stop Currie from going the length of the field.
But Saints got the opening try of the second half through Fages who was at the heart of it again. Dec Patton’s kick went out on the full and that gave Saints excellent field position. The ball was fed out wide to Fages and he jinked his way over. Coote was unable to add the extras.
Saints continued to push forward, but great defence from Warrington coupled with errors from the Saints meant the game was running away from Justin Holbrook’s men.
And late on, Daryl Clark scooted from dummy half to confirm the victory before Patton added the extras meaning it was Warrington who took home this year’s Coral Challenge Cup.
Credit to Warrington, but Saints will now look to bounce back in the Super League Playoffs.
Saints: Coote, Grace, Pericval, Naiqama, Makinson, Fages, Lomax, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles.
Interchanges: Paulo, LMS, Amor, Ashworth.
Tries: Fages (57)
Goals: Coote (0 from 1)
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Currie, Patton, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Murdoch-Masila, Hughes, J.Clark.
Interchanges: Akauola, Philbin, Davis, Mamo.
Tries: Philbin (25), Murdoch-Masila (33), Clark (71).
Goals: Ratchford (2 from 2), Patton (1 from 1).