St Helens coach Nathan Brown backed Warrington to win the Super League title after the Wolves claimed a 29-16 win at Langtree Park.
Saints went into the game looking for their sixth consecutive victory, but last year's Grand Final runners-up guaranteed a top-two finish with a power-packed performance.
"I think we got beat by the best side in the competition," said Brown, whose side at least made a fight of it after trailing 22-0.
"Tony Smith has been resting his players to give them a final tilt. They've a powerful squad and I still think they're the team to beat.
"Physically Warrington were very good. They started the game with a lot of intent, with and without the ball. We had a 20-minute period when just didn't go with them.
"When we actually started to aim up a bit in defence and win some field position, we executed some plays and got ourselves back in the contest.
"There was a lot to like about what did but you can't excuse the way we started. We need to learn the lesson of not starting with the right intensity."
Warrington boss Smith added: "I'm over the moon. That was as good a win as we've had for long, long time because we had to overcome a lot of adversity.
"I thought the half-time score flattered Saints because I thought we were outstanding in the first half but Saints came to the party and had a real crack in that second half when they got all the possession.
"It was a good, tough game and a big one for us tonight. Saints are coming good. They've struck some form and consistency and we're hoping to find that consistency ourselves going into the finals."