SAINTS produced a titanic defensive display to beat Warrington Wolves 20-16 at Magic Weekend.For the second week in a row resolve and desperation came to the fore as the Champions turned a poor first half right around to secure the win.Tommy Makinson’s hit in the last 60 seconds on Daryl Clark was the highlight reel but it typified the effort of Keiron Cunningham’s men who secured their first victory at Magic since 2010.Saints began the game well but found themselves 8-0 down after 15 minutes – largely on the back of their own errors and ill-discipline.They hit back when Jon Wilkin’s chip through found Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook in space and Makinson tagged on a penalty.Ryan Atkins then put the Wolves ahead – Chris Bridge to tagging on a two-pointer – to give the Wolves a solid advantage until that second half turnaround.Saints made one change from the side that beat Hull FC last week – Jon Wilkin returning from suspension at scrum half in place of the injured Lewis Charnock.And for the first few minutes, that parity from the win in Humberside seemed to do the side well.Wilkin’s last tackle kicking was pinpoint and it forced Warrington on their heels, time after time.Makinson broke down the right hand side in the seventh minute, earning Saints a repeat set, and then Swift showed great feet to get the Champions out of danger.A minute later Warrington though won a penalty and Stefan Ratchford showed great speed and awareness to break tackles to put the Wolves ahead.On the quarter of an hour mark the advantage was doubled too as Ben Harrison collected a nice Declan Patton reverse kick to increase the lead.Saints hit back when Wilkin’s kick early in the tackle count took a wicked deflection and bounce and was mopped up by Loiue McCarthy-Scarsbrook.It still took some scoring but the big cockney was not going to be denied.Makinson made it a two-point game with the conversion and then levelled it up in the 23rd minute with a penalty.But four minutes later, Saints gave a penalty away and with a fresh set Atkins was caught on a strong line and the Wolves were back in front.Chris Bridge added a penalty as the game reached half time – and it came via an unnecessary loose pass that put Saints in trouble.That took the margin out to eight points – and Saints nearly cut that on the stroke of half time but Swift was bundled into touch.Saints needed to come up big in the second half – and they received a massive let off when Richie Myler went through the middle in the first minute and should have scored.He bombed the chance and on Warrington’s next attack the defence had to be keen once more.Jordan Turner went to within inches seconds later but on 49 minutes he put in a superb pass for Swift as Saints spread the ball wide.It was much needed and showed when the ball headed to that combination, the Champions looked dangerous.Saints continued to come and after back to back to back sets they went ahead for the first time.Jon Wilkin was caught on a great run and he forced his way over the line.Makinson tagging on the extras.Saints continued to turn the screw and were unlucky not to come away from Warrington territory with more points.The Wolves defended out and then won a drop out on 66 minutes – only for Swift to produce a massive hit on Bridge to stop a certain score.That defence was crucial as the game entered its final stages too – but they had the video referee to thank as well as Ben Harrison was pinged for passing off the floor – moments before Gene Ormsby looked to have scored in the corner.Makinson cooled the nerves (a little) with another penalty to take it out to 20-16 with five minutes to go, before Saints produced some of the best defence you are likely to see in Super League this year.With Warrington throwing all they could at the line, Saints defended back to back sets and the Makinson flew out and smashed Daryl Clark to force the ball loose.It was a world class tackle from a player who is surely becoming one of the best in the game.And it sealed a dramatic and well deserved victory.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Swift, WilkinGoals: Makinson (4 from 5)Wolves: Tries: Ratchford, Harrison, Atkins, Goals: Ratchford (0 from 2), Bridge (1 from 1)Penalties: Saints: 8Wolves: 8HT: 8-16FT: 20-16REF: R Silverwood ATT: TBCTeams:Saints: 34. Shannon McDonnell; 2. Tommy Makinson, 30. Matty Fleming, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 12. Jon Wilkin; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Alex Walmsley, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Mark Flanagan, 4. Josh Jones. Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 18. Luke Thompson, 19. Greg Richards, 25. Andre Savelio.Wolves:6. Stefan Ratchford; 5. Joel Monaghan, 3. Chris Bridge, 4. Ryan Atkins, 22. Gene Ormsby; 29. Declan Patton, 7. Richie Myler; 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Ashton Sims, 17. Ben Currie, 12. Ben Westwood, 13. Ben Harrison.Subs: 15. Roy Asotasi, 18. James Laithwaite, 25. Brad Dwyer, 27. George King.
Faye Gaskin grabbed her second hat-trick in as many games as Saints beat the current Champions on the road.“It was a good performance,” he said. “Once again our forwards really laid the platform for us to score some great tries and we worked hard in both attack and defence.“We tightened up around the ruck and stopped a really good Bulls side getting on the front foot.”He continued: “It was good to give Emily Rudge 40 minutes and I thought Vicky Whitfield came off the bench and gave us a lift too. Dawn Taylor, Sarah Lovejoy and Channy Crowl also had great games as did Tara Jones whose smart play and organisation around the ruck really got us going.“Rebecca Rotheram was a constant threat at full back too, making two great clear breaks and showing her blistering pace.“We’re really looking forward to this weekend’s game with Featherstone and will be working hard to ensure we keep on going in the right direction.“We know we have improvement in us and the squad is pushing each other to do so.”