Result from The DW Stadium - 8:00pm kick off
Wigan Warriors - 12
T - Burgess, Charnley 2
G - Smith 0/3
St Helens - 16
T - Makinson 2, Wellens
G - Makinson 0/1, Percival 2/3
Wigan lost the second derby of the season as arch rivals St Helens ran out 16-12 winners at the DW Stadium.
In an absorbing encounter the arch rivals went in 4-4 at half time after tries from Joe Burgess for Wigan and Tommy Makinson for Saints. The sides were level again in the second half as Josh Charnley cancelled out Paul Wellens’ try. A second from Tommy Makinson and two goals from Mark Percival helped Saints into an 8 point advantage before Charnley’s second set up a frantic final minute. The Warriors couldn’t quite get over the whitewash though and it was the Saints who took the two points.
Shaun Wane welcomed back no less than six players for the game with Matty Bowen, Joe Burgess, Gil Dudson and John Bateman all going straight into the starting line-up. Dom Crosby returned on the bench whilst Sean O’Loughlin also came back after missing last week’s game at Wakefield, the Captain wasn’t going to miss this one was he?
Liam Farrell, Wigan’s top try scorer in Super League, missed the game through suspension whilst Michael McIlorum was ruled out with a broken arm. There was a debut on the bench for young Half Back Jamie Doran, the Cumbrian has played a starring role for Wigan Warriors Under 19’s during their recent resurgence and Shaun Wane didn’t hesitate to give Doran a chance in The Derby. At number 42 Doran took to the field with the highest squad number ever given to a Wigan First Team player, a sign of the injury crisis that Shaun Wane’s side have endured this season.
Adam Swift returned on the wing for Saints whilst Alex Walmsley started at Prop having completed a one-game ban.
Shaun Wane described the game against arch rivals as bigger than a "Grand Final" in his programme notes, the Wigan Coach certainly knows what this one means to the fans of this great club.
Wigan looked sharp and Matty Bowen was busy causing the Saints defence all sorts of problems. The Aussie Full Back made a great 50 metre break in the early stages before seeing an effort close to the line just held up short. The Warriors soon took a deserved lead though in the 9th minute, a great short kick from Sam Powell found Joe Burgess who grounded the ball in the left corner and scored Wigan’s first try of the night and their 100th of this Super League campaign. Matty Smith couldn’t add the extras so Wigan led 4-0.
The Visitors looked for a way back into the game and it came in the form of Tommy Makinson, the prolific Winger went over in the corner after a brilliant offload from Mark Flanagan. Makinson missed the conversion and the sides were level. Luke Walsh, involved in the build up to the try, left the field before the restart with an injury.
A chance then went begging for Joe Burgess, Wigan had Saints pegged back on their line and the youngster had a half chance on the left but was bundled into touch a metre short.
Defence was winning the day as both sides held each other out with some ferocious hits on show. Sean O’Loughlin was making his presence felt, rocking more than one player in a blue shirt.
With half time edging closer St Helens thought they’d taken the lead after a smart grubber kick from Lance Hohaia skimmed across the surface, the kick had two attackers searching for the four pointer however the video referee correctly judged that Joe Burgess had palmed the ball to safety.
The sides went in for half time all square at the end of a great 40 minutes of rugby league, more of the same please gents!
Just a couple of minutes into the second half Saints had the lead. Wigan were unable to deal with an angled kick from Jon Wilkin and Saints collected to send Paul Wellens over for the try. Mark Percival failed with the conversion, Saints now leading 8-4.
James Roby was starting to have more of an influence on proceedings and St Helens the better territory but some great defence from the Cherry and Whites held them out.
Wigan needed to react and Shaun Wane introduced debutant Jamie Doran at Hooker to help Wigan inject some pace. The move worked as his side produced an excellent piece of attacking play to go over for their second try of the night. Matty Smith flung a pass right to Matty Bowen who fired the ball to Josh Charnley who dove in on his wing, Bowen’s pass missing out three defenders and worthy of four points on its own.
Neither kicker had been successful with their four conversion attempts and the first points from the boot came in the way of a penalty, Mark Percival put his side in the lead with a two pointer from 40 metres out after a high shot from Wigan.
Not long after Saints extended their lead as Tommy Makinson darted down his wing and evaded the Wigan defence to go over for four vital points. Percival added two more and his side led 16-8 with less than 15 minutes to play.
The drama continued and Wigan pushed for a try to get back within touching distance. Joe Burgess thought he’d scored in the 75th minute, scooting over from Dummy Half, but for his effort to be ruled out for a double movement.
The Warriors kept up the pressure and Josh Charnley went over again on his wing, a carbon copy of his first effort but for the bullet pass coming from Sean O’Loughlin. Smith missed the kick, one minute left. Could the Warriors pull off the unthinkable?
Wigan mounted one last attack and Josh Charnley made a 40 metre dash down field after good work from Anthony Gelling, Charnley won a penalty and Wigan went again. Sean O’Loughlin and Matty Smith tried desperately to unlock the Saints defence but the visitors held on for the win.
Wigan Warriors - Matty Bowen, Josh Charnley, Dan Sarginson, Anthony Gelling, Joe Burgess, Sam Powell, Matty Smith, Ben Flower, George Williams, Gil Dudson, Jack Hughes, John Bateman, Sean O’Loughlin
Replacements - Scott Taylor, Dom Crosby, Jordan James, Jamie Doran
St Helens - Paul Wellens, Tom Makinson, Jordan Turner, Mark Percival, Adam Swift, Lance Hohaia, Luke Walsh, Greg Richards, James Roby, Alex Walmsley, Mark Flanagan, Jon Wilkin, Sia Soliola
Replacements - Mose Masoe, Willie Manu, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Luke Thompson
Referee - P Bentham