Warrington 12-30 St Helens: Saints still unbeaten after Mark Percival hat-trick
Last Updated: 10/03/18 12:17pm
Mark Percival scored a hat-trick to help St Helens maintain their perfect start to the Super League season with a 30-12 win over Warrington.
The Wolves managed to keep a tight rein on dangerous Australian full-back Ben Barba but could not cope with the attacking threat of Percival, who took his try tally for the year to seven and guided his side to a fifth win from as many games.
Saints' other tries came from captain James Roby - the 99th of his career - and lively half-back Danny Richardson as Warrington were condemned to a fourth defeat in six games under new coach Steve Price.
The Wolves were without in-form centre Bryson Goodwin but had their regular half-backs in harness with Kevin Brown returning from a head knock to partner Tyrone Roberts.
Saints gave a second Super League outing to young forward Matty Lees, recalled from dual-registration club Sheffield Eagles, in the absence of Jon Wilkin and Morgan Knowles. He showed up well in another impressive team display.
Percival made his mark as early as the sixth minute, stepping through the Wolves' defence after Richardson had cleverly switched the point of attack.
Both sides struggled to put their sets together in the wet conditions but Warrington gradually worked their way into the game.
Winger Tom Lineham was held up over the Saints' line and Warrington forced three goal-line drop-outs to keep the pressure on, until centre Toby King scored an equalising try on 23 minutes, picking up a loose ball from Roberts' high kick.
Stefan Ratchford's touchline goal made it 6-6 but Richardson nudged the visitors ahead by half-time with a penalty, adding to his earlier conversion.
It took Saints less than a minute of the second half to increase their advantage.
Roberts failed to gather the ball from Richardson's kick-off to give the visitors a glorious attacking position and Roby punished them with a trademark try from dummy half.
Richardson kicked his third goal but the gap was back to just two points on 52 minutes when King gathered the ball from Roberts' high kick and got substitute Harvey Livett over in the corner.
St Helens lost England prop Alex Walmsley with a hand injury and concussion but struck the decisive blow on 57 minutes when Percival took Barba's delayed pass to cross for his second try.
Richardson, who is keeping former England scrum-half Matty Smith out of the side, then showed his class with a darting run and inch-perfect kick for Percival to chase and score his third try.
Percival repaid the favour three minutes from the end with a grubber kick that set up a try for Richardson, who kicked his fifth goal from six attempts to round off a wonderful performance.