“Let us down” – Warrington Wolves boss reveals reasons behind St Helens defeat

2023 was not Warrington Wolves’ year as they continue to be the nearly men in Super League missing out on a semi-final against Wigan Warriors with Hull KR now heading over to the DW Stadium and St Helens bound for Catalans Dragons after beating Warrington.

It was always going to be a long shot for the club against the reigning Champions St Helens.

There was also a bigger focus on next year under Sam Burgess but still the question had to be asked: what went wrong for Warrington?

Gary Chambers answered that on Sky Sports:

“They had a real dig didn’t they? It was just the smart stuff at those key moments that let us down.

“I can’t question their efforts and they have a lot to learn but they have a good basis and Sam will come in and sort things out.”

On Sam Burgess, Chambers said:

“He will come in and fix up areas that let us down today, he will give us some other dimensions and he will have some new players to play with but I have loved it, it has been a great experience bit gutting today but I can’t complain.”

With a semi-final awaiting against Wigan Warriors or Catalans Dragons for St Helens and Warrington Wolves met in a massive game.

A big game always, they are two major rivals hoping to sustain their title hopes. Saints went into the game having been champions for 1449 days whilst Warrington have never held the Super League title.

It was also 1,821 days since Saints lost a play off game which came against Warrington in 2018 – 18-13.

It was also a final home game for St Helens legends James Roby and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

The Saints showed some early brilliance when a lovely move sent Tommy Makinson down field.

He kicked ahead and Matty Ashton cleared up in a play that cost the Saints Joe Batchelor.

The Saints squandered the next possession but again blew holes into the Warrington defence with Morgan Knowles powering through before a short James Bell pass looked set to put Mark Percival through a gap to score but he lost the ball.

We saw another excellent break from Saints when Jack Welsby wrong footed Jordy Crowther and broke down field but great cover defence from James Harrison and Matt Dufty denied him.

But eventually Saints opened the deadlock with a short ball to Curtis Sironen and he found Lewis Dodd in support to score under the sticks.

The Wolves weren’t being out played but were undercutting some of their great kicks by penalties and errors.

They did have a few openings in the first half including a break by George Williams tackled by James Roby.

But eventually Saints extended their lead to 8-0 after a Josh Drinkwater tip tackle on Jack Welsby.

The Wolves did get themselves back into the game in the second half after a sweeping move set Connor Wrench free and he dummied up against Jack Welsby.

It was nearly the wrong decision as he slipped but in the end he got over the line.

Then the crucial moment as Alex Walmsley was sin binned for contact with the head of Jordy Crowther.

Whilst he was off a number of errors and penalties led to a penalty from Stefan Ratchford levelling matters.

But as Walmsley came back onto the pitch the Saints found a way to take the lead again with Jack Welsby smuggling the ball away to Mark Percival who fed Tommy Makinson who crucially cut the angle down to allow Percival to make it 14-8.

Then it was Warrington’s turn to be reduced to 12 men when they had Joe Bullock sin binned for contact to the head.

Then Matty Russell was penalised for a high tackle and Percival converted that into a 16-8 lead.