sport

Smith - We played smart

Warrington coach Tony Smith praised the way his side coped with St Helens' huge pack after the Wolves triumphed 39-12 at Langtree Park.

The Wolves scored seven tries, Joel Monaghan getting two of them to take his tally in Super League to 100, as they denied Saints from clinching the League Leaders' Shield.

Victory was achieved despite losing Simon Grix to a broken ankle and Ben Westwood to a torn calf muscle in the first half.

"It was a really good performance in many ways, particularly in the first half," Smith said.

"I know they are without recognised half-backs but they are a huge team to deal with and we had to play a certain way to compete with them.

"They had a good start, they had their tails up, but I thought we played smart.

"We lost two back rowers in the first half and that could have hurt us but we were brave and smart and courageous.

"There were three stand-outs for me. Matty Russell was sensational, Chris Hill was enormous for us and Monas (Michael Monaghan) ran the show until he got that injury."

Smith confirmed that Grix, who had already missed 15 games this year with ankle and shoulder injuries, would have an operation on Friday after suffering a bad break in the 17th minute of the contest.

"We're devastated for Simon," the Warrington boss added. "He's broken his ankle and will be in for surgery tomorrow.

"I think that second half was a bit for Simon, the players spoke about that at half-time. He's had so many injuries and I think they dug in for Simon."

St Helens also suffered a major injury blow themselves with full-back Shannon McDonnell sustaining a broken jaw that will also end his season.

"He broke his jaw in the first minute and carried on until half-time so he did really well," said coach Nathan Brown.

Needing only a point to finish top of the table, Saints got off to a perfect start with McDonnell's fourth-minute try but were blown away after that. Willie Manu scored their other try, while they were unable to muster a solitary point in the second half.

"It was not the performance we were looking for," Brown added. "We struggled in a few areas and their dummy-half runners caused us a quite a lot of trouble.

"We had players taking dummies on key ball players and our back three had five or six play-one errors which is not like them. To round it off, we had a fair number of players who were below their best, which is not good but it happens.

"I can't be too critical of the guys because at the end of the day, they put the club in a good spot under a reasonable amount of adversity.

"Unfortunately we saved the off night for what could have been a great occasion for our fans but I've still got a lot of faith in the guys that we can recover from this.

"We generally recover from these losses well."