Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
2 days ago
Ian Millward could barely conceal his delight after St Helens pilfered the points with a last-gasp 31-30 derby victory against Warrington at Knowsley Road.
Saints scrum-half Sean Long struck a dramatic drop-goal to destroy Warrington?s hopes of recording five successive Super League victories for the first time.
Paul Cullen?s spirited Wolves were on course for a memorable victory with two minutes remaining of an enthralling encounter.
However, Long struck first with a late penalty to draw the scores level at 30-30 before he added the coup de grace from 40 metres with just seconds remaining.
It was not the first time that Saints had nicked a late victory this season, and Saints coach Millward beamed: ?(Prop) Paul Anderson came in afterwards and said ?all you fellas want to do is win a game in the last minute!?.
?We can win in the last minute because we?ve shown that before. But Sean played really well tonight, although I thought a couple of his decisions could have been a little bit better.
?He was a bit rusty but I thought something had to turn his way and it did. But Paul Wellens was outstanding and if he was a bank then you?d like to have your money in him because you know you wouldn?t get robbed. I thought he was absolutely fantastic.
?Warrington were very, very good and I think Paul (Cullen) has done very well with them over the last five weeks. They?ll definitely make the top six and I also thought the referee had a very good game.?
Millward also reserved praise for inspirational skipper Paul Sculthorpe after he had missed the previous six games with back and hamstring problems.
The Australian added: ?I thought he was fantastic, although he was a little rusty and he needs game time.?
Saints emerged victorious following a thrilling see-saw encounter courtesy of tries from Long, Darren Albert, Jamie Lyon (2) and Mick Higham, with the rest of the points coming from Long?s boot.
The defeat was cruel on a highly impressive Warrington outfit, who looked every inch play-off material as they pushed Millward?s side all the way following tries from Toa Kohe-Love, Nathan Wood (2), Ben Westwood and Henry Fa?afili.
Cullen was left desperately disappointed after his side came within touching distance of securing a rare win against Saints.
However, he also took great heart from his side?s superb display.
He said: ?We have played our part in a classic game and I don?t think I need to pick my players up after this display.
?There is obviously an element of disappointment and fatigue because we have pushed ourselves to the wire; we have given everything that we?ve got and we?ve played our part in a classic.
?Saints-Warrington at Knowsley Road, 60-odd points in a game and there usually is that many points, but not in that numerical order.
?We?ve had nine years of mediocrity and failure, so to get our players to compete at that standard is worth merit.?
Thanks to: http://www.superleague.co.uk for another excellent article.