Wigan Warriors enjoy derby day delight


Wigan Warriors took the derby day bragging rights with a convincing 30-10 victory over St Helens.

The victory meant St Helens’ celebrations were delayed as they will now have to wait for their next game as their next chance to lift the League Leaders’ Shield after failing to win their first piece of silverware for 2022 on rival territory.

It was a fast start from the champions who brought the intensity straight to the Warriors and earned themselves a penalty goal inside the opening five minutes which was calmly converted by Jonny Lomax.

But that’s about as positive as things got for the Saints who struggled to cope with Wigan’s pace in attack whilst Kristian Woolf’s men couldn’t break the home side’s defence down.

Wigan had the first try of the evening just after the ten-minute mark as Bevan French went over in the corner and left the video referee with an easy decision to make as a try was almost immediately awarded following a little altercation between the two sides in the aftermath.

Just over ten minutes after, Wigan doubled their points tally with a beauty of a try. Mike Cooper on his return to the side following suspension showed a great piece of intensity to get the ball moving and a quick short pass to Smith broke the line and left Wigan in a two-on-one which saw Field drive through and score under the sticks.

Saints thought they had their first try of the evening when they were denied once with Lomax but quickly over the line on a second attempt through Hurrell. But after a long hard look, the video referee couldn’t come to a conclusive reason to overrule the on-field decision which stood at ‘No Try’.

And with seven minutes until the half-time hooter, Wigan had a third try of the evening as Liam Farrell used a slip of his own to throw the Saints defence and dance through to again go under the sticks and put Wigan firmly into the lead

With Wigan leading 18-2 at half time, the second half left Kristian Woolf’s side with everything to do as they seemed to be second best to the majority of factors that derby day was throwing up as Matt Peet’s side look calm and collected for large parts of the first 40 minutes.

Much like the first, St Helens began the second half of the stronger of the two sides, but some forced and some completely unforced errors continued to hider the Saints attack.

Wigan spent large parts of the second 40 minutes defending their own try line. But a ridiculous amount of grit and determination saw the Warriors stand strong with each tackle being met with a roar from the South stand.

Saints were once again disallowed by the video referee in what felt like a slightly strange situation as neither players or fans seemed to have any real appeals for the try that was quite quickly ruled out, but moments later they did have points on the board.

Joey Lussick showed a great turn of pace to catch the Warriors momentarily slacking as they looked to switch off and Saints got themselves back into the contest. A quite shocking conversion miss from Ben Davies, who didn’t have the greatest of nights on conversion duties, saw the score at 18-6 and the Warriors knew the game wasn’t wrapped up just yet.

Wigan slowly allowed small errors to creep in and a couple of offside calls left them under the cosh and defending their try line for what felt like an age. But after standing strong and showing an unreal amount of resilience and character once again, they hit the front and got themselves the pressure reliever they needed.

Who else to score against the Saints then Liam Marshall who drove down the left, avoided a challenge from Davies and piled over to send the D.W. into a frenzy as they effectively sealed the deal.

Saints did have one last minute of joy as Joe Batchelor finished off a well-worked try as Saints reversed the play and looked to go right before exposing Wigan’s right side of defence

But it was Wigan who had the last hurrah as the game drew to a close, the Warriors pushed for one last try and it was French who drove through once more to get his second of the evening and score to win the game in style as the final hooter sounded.

Matt Peet was delighted with his side’s commitment to the cause and was relieved to be able to rest a couple of his players ahead of the final few league fixtures.

“I’m happy with the commitment and hard work tonight. We’ve created a lot of chances from good defence so it’s pleasing.”

The win means Wigan have delayed the champions from claiming the League Leaders’ Shield for another round and nailed down second spot meaning they can take less risks in team selection ahead of the play-off’s games.

As for the Saints, they were unable to claim their first piece of silverware in 2022 on rival territory and are made to wait to life the shield when their next chance will be next time out on Monday when they face Wakefield Trinity.

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