St Helens 16 Wigan 26
Match report as Wigan Warriors beat St Helens 26-16 at the Totally Wicked Stadium
Warriors put in fine performance to take Super 8s Derby and boost top four hopes
- Oliver Gildart (2), Anthony Gelling and George Williams with Wigan’s tries
Wigan Warriors boosted their top four hopes with a fine 26-16 victory over local rivals St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday night.
The Cherry and Whites took a 14-0 lead early on thanks to a brace from Oliver Gildart and three goals from George Williams. Ben Barba pulled one back for Saints before the break but the Warriors led 14-4 at half-time.
Wigan extended their lead in the second half through Anthony Gelling and George Williams to lead 24-4. Zeb Taia and Tommy Makinson pulled Saints back into the game but Wigan kept them at arm’s distance and a last-minute George Williams goal completed the win.
Shaun Wane made one change from the Wigan side that played at Wembley Stadium last weekend as Jack Wells came in for Ryan Sutton (illness) on the bench.
Justin Holbrook made two changes to his Saints outfit that lost at Leeds last time out. Theo Fages and Danny Richardson dropped out of the side for Ben Barba, who made his debut, and the returning Luke Douglas.
Wigan made a blistering start as Joe Burgess darted down the left wing in the second minute to put Oliver Gildart over for the first try of the night. George Williams converted to give his side a 6-0 advantage.
Gildart then grabbed his second in as many minutes as ge picked up a loose ball following a wayward Saints pass to race 40 metres and glide past Ben Barba to dive over. Williams added the conversion from out wide and Wigan were 12-0 to the good.
Saints were struggling to handle Wigan’s quick plays in the early stages and Williams added a penalty goal for the Warriors when Saints were caught offside. Wigan now 14-0 ahead after just 14 minutes.
Zeb Taia thought he’d scored for the hosts midway through the first half but video referee Ben Thaler chalked it off due to a knock-on from Mark Percival earlier in the play.
Former Dally M winner Barba then went over in the corner and after watching it for a couple of minutes on the screen, the try was given but Percival failed to convert, Wigan still led 14-4 though.
Sam Tomkins then made a try-saving tackle that was certainly one for the highlight reel! The England star dragged Saints winger Regan Grace into touch as he looked to score.
George Williams also made a marvellous tackle on the half hour mark when he put a big hit in on Ryan Morgan, doing just enough to make the pass from the Saints centre went in touch.
St Helens had a couple of sets near the Wigan line late in the half but nothing came of them and Shaun Wane’s side were 14-4 to the good at the interval.
HALF TIME: St Helens 4–14 Wigan Warriors
The Saints threw a couple of sets at the Warriors try-line at the start of the second half but strong defence from Wigan kept them out.
Wigan looked good going forward and a crisp move involving several players saw Anthony Gelling glide over out wide and celebrate with the travelling support. The conversion was off target but Wigan were 18-4 in front.
Wane’s Warriors soon extended their lead when from the next set Joe Burgess made a sublime 50-mertre break before slipping Williams through to finish a fantastic team try. Williams arrowed his conversion between the uprights to give his team a 24-4 lead after 52 minutes.
Taia then pulled one back for Saints though as he burst through the Warriors defence to reach over the line. Percival added the extras for the home side, St Helens 10-24 Wigan.
Tommy Makinson went over for Saints on the hour to bridge the gap further. Dominique Peyroux produced an offload for the winger who finished in the corner. The conversion was good, Wigan’s lead cut to 24-16.
Wigan’s game management in the last 15 minutes was impressive and kicks from Tomkins and Sam Powell led them around the park excellently.
Warriors workhorse Willie Isa was sin-binned with a minute left on the clock after an off-the-ball incident with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Saints were caught offside again with just seconds remaining so Wigan took the two and Williams didn’t miss as he rounded off a great night for the Warriors.
FULL TIME: St Helens 16–26 Wigan Warriors
St Helens - 16
Tries: Ben Barba, Zeb Taia, Tommy Makinson.
Goals: Mark Percival 2/3
Wigan Warriors - 26
Tries: Oliver Gildart 2, Anthony Gelling, George Williams.
Goals: George Williams 5/6
St Helens: 37. Ben Barba, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 28. Regan Grace, 1. Jonny Lomax, 7. Matty Smith, 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 36. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 20. Morgan Knowles
Interchange: 8. Alex Walmsley, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 18. Dominique Peyroux
Wigan Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins, 35. Liam Marshall, 3. Anthony Gelling, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. George Williams, 7. Tommy Leuluai, 8. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 9. Micky McIlorum, 15. Tony Clubb, 14. John Bateman, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin
Interchange: 28. Jack Wells, 20. Willie Isa, 16. Sam Powell, 17. Taulima Tautai
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