Gidley stars, Warrington into SL decider

Former NRL star Kurt Gidley has played an influential role as Warrington beat St Helens 18-10 in a fast and furious semi-final to become the first team through to the Super League grand final.

Saints were on course for an eighth successive win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium after scoring eight points in two minutes before the interval, but the Wolves dominated the second half to reach their third decider.

The League leaders will now meet the winners of Friday’s second semi-final between Wigan and Hull at Old Trafford on October 8.

One of Newcastle’s most-decorated players after playing 251 NRL games for the Knights, Gidley is in his first season with Warrington.

Despite missing his side’s win over Hull FC to set-up a semi-final berth, Gidley has enjoyed a successful debut year in Super League after he was named in the competition’s Dream Team.

Warrington coach Tony Smith also sang the praises of fullback Stefan Ratchford.

Ratchford overcame a couple of early blunders to score the try that put Wolves in front early in the second half and produced the scoring pass for Tom Lineham’s controversial clinching score.

“He had a couple of hairy moments in the first half but he bounced back and built his way back into the match,” Smith said.

“His work at the back was outstanding and he came up with some really classy plays.”

Warrington had the better of the first half and established an 8-2 lead with a try from Gidley and two goals from his halfback partner Dec Patton, but Saints struck back by scoring eight points in the last two minutes of the half.

Fullback Jonny Lomax finished off a break by winger Adam Swift for a try and Luke Walsh kicked three goals to nudge the visitors into a 10-8 interval lead, only for Ratchford to lead the Wolves’ fightback.

The victory, which followed their League Leaders’ Shield success last Friday, earns Warrington a third trip to Old Trafford.

“We set out at the start of the year to have a crack at the trophies and we give ourselves another chance,” Smith said.

“We were not far off at Wembley, we got the League Leaders’ Shield and we’re delighted to be one step closer to the big one.”

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