St Helens suffered a crushing 40-18 defeat to Warrington Wolves, who overturned a 14-0 deficit to revive their Super League top-eight hopes.
The Wolves turned the game around by running in 36 points without reply in a devastating 29-minute spell as Saints, who are awaiting the arrival of new coach Justin Holbrook, fell apart in alarming fashion.
Without their three England players, the home side were indebted to 20-year-old Harvey Livett as he stepped into the half-back role vacated temporarily by Kevin Brown to inspire a remarkable fightback with a man-of-the-match performance highlighted by a try and six goals.
How St Helens could have done with Alex Walmsley and Mark Percival, who have flown 12,000 miles with England to Australia only to be left out of the team to play Samoa.
They also lost skipper Jon Wilkin in the warm-up, which forced interim coaches Sean Long and Jamahl Lolesi into a last-minute reshuffle, and, although they had hooker James Roby back from his injury lay-off, he was unable stop the rot when he entered the action.
Yet Saints could hardly have made a better start, gaining the ball from their own kick-off after it was caught in the swirling wind and working it out wide for winger Adam Swift to touch down at the corner with just 41 seconds on the clock.
Tommy Makinson kicked the touchline conversion and increased his side’s lead with a penalty on 12 minutes after prop Kyle Amor was tackled high.
The Wolves were distinctly disjointed in the first quarter but they gradually began to get more possession and eventually began to threaten the Saints line. Both hooker Brad Dwyer and winger Tom Lineham managed to force their way over but both were denied tries by the video referee and it was against the run of play when Saints extended their lead on 26 minutes through centre Ryan Morgan, who jinked his way through some soft defence for a second try.
Makinson’s third goal made it 14-0 but, undaunted, Warrington struck back with two tries in a five-minute spell before the break to open up the contest.
Impressive second rower Benjamin Jullien burst onto Dec Patton’s short pass to crash over and skipper Kurt Gidley delayed a pass superbly to get prop Mike Cooper gliding through a gap.
Livett added both conversions to cut the gap to just two points at the break and the home side continued their revival in the second half.
They got an early sight of the Saints tryline when prop Adam Walker lost the ball in the first tackle of the second half and Livett punished a handling error by Fages, scooping up the ball and sprinting over from halfway for an opportunist try.
And the comeback was complete on 51 minutes when centre Rhys Evans took Livett’s short pass to crash over for Warrington’s fourth try.
Yet another handling error from the shell-shocked visitors gifted a long-range try to winger Tom Lineham and a break from deep inside his own half by Evans created the position for his co-centre Ryan Atkins to grab a sixth try.
St Helens scored a consolation try through forward Dominique Peyrouxbut Warrington had the final say when Atkins won the race to Patton’s kick to grab his second try.