A win for the Warrington Wolves in tonight's home game against St Helens would see them into the top eight for the first time in 2017, but Saints wanted the points to keep alive their hopes of a top four spot in advance of the arrival of their new coach Justin Holbrook.
Saints comfortably won the encounter earlier in the season by 31-6 but this is a very different and more confident Wolves side than the winless seventeen who took the field back in March.
Both sides were missing stars away on England duty for tomorrow's game against Samoa. The Wolves were without the services of Ratchford, Hill and Brown while Percival and Walmsley were also missing but not named in the seventeen for tomorrow, and Wilkin withdrew minutes before kick-off.
Just forty-one second had elapsed when first Matty Smith and then Theo Fages probed the Wolves line before a flying Adam Swift grounded one handed in the corner. Tommy Makinson kicked brilliantly from the touchline for 6-0 and a super Saints start.
A twelfth minute penalty from Makinson after Kurt Gidley interfered at the play-the-ball extended the lead.
Theo Fages did well to hold Brad Dwyer over the line and prevent him grounding on twenty minutes, two tackles later and the video referee agreed with Mr Bentham in ruling out a second Wolves effort, this time from Tom Lineham.
The second Saints try came on twenty-five when Ryan Morgan made the most of some poor Wolves defending to outsmart four attempted tackles and drop over the line. Makinson drilled the conversion between the uprights for 14-0.
A knock-on from a Gidley kick and a penalty five from the Saints line gave the Wolves a rare period of pressure and Benjamin Jullien went over off a Declan Patton pass. Harvey Livett added the extra two points leaving Warrington eight behind with eight to play.
Mike Cooper quickly added to the Wolves tally on thirty-five when he jinked past two defenders to go over from ten metres. Scoring under the sticks Livett had a simple conversion and the gap was back to just two points, Saints looking shell-shocked.
The Wolves hit the front on forty-five when Harvey Livett picked up a dropped Saints ball on his own forty and went sixty metres to dive under the sticks giving himself a simple conversion for 18-14.
On fifty-one Rhys Evans spun over the line after Saints had fumbled at the play the ball. It was a short pass from Harvey Livett that put Evans free to run at the Saints defence and with the Livett conversion Warrington had scored twenty-four unanswered points.
An awful Saints pass from Makinson on fifty-six was picked up by Tom Lineham who went forty metres to dive over by the left upright. When Livett added the conversion it was 30-14 and the Wolves were putting Saints to the sword.
Within a minute the Wolves were back in. A seventy metre Evans break and a fast play the ball with good support allowed Ashton Sims to put Ryan Atkins in to slide over by the corner flag. Livett kicked from the touchline for 36-14.
On seventy-one Saints got their first points for forty-six minutes when Dominique Peyroux received a pass in the goal area to drop to the ground to score. Makinson failed to add the extra two points.
Ryan Atkins put the icing on the Wolves cake when he scored seconds before the final hooter as he ran through an exhausted Saints defence to drop over the line. Livett failed to add the extras but the Wolves had sealed a sensational 42-18 victory.
This was the strangest of games which Saints totally dominated for the opening twenty-five against a lacklustre Warrington side who then found their mojo fifteen minutes from the interval and then proceeded to blow the Saints away with thirty-six unanswered points in a forty-five minute spell. Saints regained some pride as the Wolves eased off the gas in the last ten minutes but there was never any danger of the Wolves relinquishing the lead.
Wolves: Gidley, Russell, Evans (T), Atkins (2T), Lineham (T), Patton, Livett (T, 6G), Cooper (T), Dwyer, Sims, Jullien (T), Hughes, Westwood. Subs: Crosby, King G., Smith, Philbin.
Saints: Makinson (3G), Swift (T), Spedding, Morgan (T), Grace, Fages, Smith, Amor, Lee, Douglas, Taia, Knowles, Thompson. Subs: Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Walker, Peyroux (T).
Referee: Phil Bentham.