Yates' verdict: Wolves' defensive effort defied logic at times
A brutal and compelling war of attrition is the best way to describe last night's showdown between defending Super League champions St Helens and Warrington at the Totally Wicked Stadium - and it's just a crying shame one of two evenly-matched teams finished pointless.
The Wolves emerged 6-2 winners to notch a fourth successive victory over their neighbours and you only need to look at the final scoreline to realise it was a defence-dominated 80 minutes.
But despite the lack of points, there was never a dull moment as two of the clubs among the title favourites went at it with hammer and tongs and kept the crowd on a knife's edge throughout.
Warrington, in particular, were awesome in defence and how they kept Saints at bay after establishing a four point advantage late in the first half almost defied logic.
They were also cute enough to slow the game down at key moments, adding to Saints' growing frustration at their inability to cross the whitewash for the first time this season.
Maybe in hindsight they should have cashed-in on a number of kickable penalties they were awarded instead of opting to run the ball, but that is easier said than done.
Admittedly, St Helens were not as fluent in attack as normal and made too many errors at crucial times which was not just down to their below-par performance but the tenacity and dogged determination of the overworked Wolves' defensive unit.
Now they need to bounce back in a positive manner as they face four potentially tricky league matches against Hull KR, Castleford, Wigan and Wakefield Trinity before they face Daryl Powell's Tigers in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday, July 17..