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2003 Match Preview: St Helens (H)
Wigan v Saints Match Preview. Posted on Thursday, April 17 2003 @ 12:54:39 BST by Bilko
After the debarcle of moving last years game to Easter Monday, Wigan v Saints is back where it belongs on a Good Friday.

 
Wigan Warriors v St Helens Tetley's Super League VIII Round 6
Good Friday 18th April. Kick Off 12:35pm at JJB Stadium.
Match Introduction
All the pre match talk at the JJB has been about another injury crisis. 

More than 10 players are doubtful for Friday's match according to Coach Stuart Raper. But I expect Kris Radlinski, Mark Smith, Craig Smith, Paul Johnson and Danny Tickle will recover to play in this match.

But the likes of Dave Hodgson, Stephen Wild, Gareth Hock, Luke Robinson, Andy Farrell, Mick Cassidy, Jamie Ainscough and Brett Dallas are not likely to recover.

This means Raper will have to delve deeper into our youth ranks. Teenagers Kevin Brown, Dave Allen and Mark Roberts were all left out of Wednesday Nights Under 21s match against St Helens so they can be on stand by for the first team. 

Both Brown and Allen are expected to be given debuts from the substitutes bench.

Coach Raper said: "They are very young, but mature beyond their years. I did intend to give them both some first-team footie this year, but their time has come early because of our huge injury problems. They can handle it, in fact, they're both looking forward to it."

It's a bit harsh having to debut against Saints but maybe that will inspire them further.

Raper has also considered loaning in players from Orrell including ex Warriors Simon Haughton, Wes Davies and Phil Jones. But Orrell coach Ross Reynolds says his side is also injury stricken and he is only prepared to release former Wigan Academy centre Jon Whittle. He has trained with the club all week but it hasn't been decided if he will be used or not. 

I said in last weeks match preview I wouldn't be surprised if Andy Farrell played in the cup semi. Of course he didn't but maybe this week if our situation is as bad as is being made out then we may have to throw him in? 

Saints coach Ian Millward believes Wigan are playing mind games.

He said: "We're expecting them to be stronger than they are making out and St Helens fans should disregard any of the pre-match talk from the Wigan camp. We're expecting both Brett Dallas and Jamie Ainscough to be back playing and they've got plenty of other top players with the likes of Johnson, Carney, Newton, O'Connor, Smith and Lam. That's eight internationals and any team that can field eight internationals has to be a world-class team."

In the last few derby matches home advantage has been crucial. The last 7 Super League Wigan v Saints clashes have all been won by the home side. The last time a visiting side won was 22nd June 2001 when Andy Farrell's 40 metre drop goal proved the difference in a 29-28 win at Knowsley Road. 

Saints haven't won at the JJB in over two and half years. That was a best forgotten play off match which they won 54-16. They did manage a draw on Good Friday two years a go but since then they come away from the JJB with nothing.

In fact in Saints last four visits to Wigan the aggregate score has been 154-32 in our favour. But I would expect them to compete this time especially with so many players out. 

Form coming into the game, as you all know, is not good for either side. Both have lost three on the bounce. I doubt that has ever happened before coming into a derby. One side will end up losing an unbelievable fourth game in a row. I just hope it isn't Wigan!

Enjoy the game!

Opposition One to Watch

Stuart Jones

Released by Wigan at the end of last year and immediately moved to Saints.

Many believed he shouldn't have been let go and he'll have something to prove in this match. May only appear has a substitute though.

SQUAD NUMBER: 22
Team News
Wigan St Helens
Kris Radlinski, David Hodgson, Andy Farrell, Brett Dallas, Mick Cassidy, Stephen Wild, Jamie Ainscough, Gareth Hock, Danny Tickle, Luke Robinson, Mark Smith, Craig Smith and Paul Johnson are all either out or facing fitness tests ahead of the derby clash. Saints could be without scrum-half Sean Long who is said to be suffering with a "virus" according to coach Ian Millward. They are also still without long term casualties Keiron Cunningham and Tommy Martyn.
 
Match Referee
Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington).
Pre Match Quotes
Wigan St Helens
"I am glad we are playing Saints because for the Wigan Saints derby I won't have to lift these guys they will be fired up. It will be a good atmosphere, it will be a big crowd and it will give a chance to more of our local Juniors to play and it will give them a chance of playing top flight footy and Wiganers love playing Saints in these games." Stuart Raper
"This is a huge local derby for everyone involved and this particular clash is unique with both sides coming in off the back of three losses. We're expecting them to be stronger than they are making out and St Helens fans should disregard any of the pre-match talk from the Wigan camp." Saints coach Ian Millward.
Current League Positions
Pos Team P W D L F A Pts Form
4 St Helens 5 3 0 2 160 98 6 L2
6 Wigan Warriors 5 2 0 3 111 124 4 L2
Opposition Form (Last 6)
Date Opposition Competition Result Score
12/04/03 Leeds (N) C.Cup Semi Final Lost 26-33 (AET)
05/04/03 Leeds (H) SL8 Round 5 Lost 16-24
30/03/03 Huddersfield (A) SL8 Round 4 Lost 22-36
21/03/03 Castleford (H) SL8 Round 3 Won 54-12
16/03/03 Salford (A) C.Cup Qtr Final Won 54-6
08/03/03 Widnes (A) SL8 Round 2 Won 22-4

Wigan Form (Last 6 all comps most recent game first): LLLWWW

Super League 8 Stats
Top Try Scorers
Wigan:
David Hodgson 4
Saints: Sean Long 5

Top Goal Kickers
Wigan:
Danny Tickle 6 (Julian O'Neill 11)
Saints: Sean Long 22

Top Goal Kickers
Wigan:
Dave Hodgson/Danny Tickle 16 (Julian O'Neill 26)
Saints: Sean Long 64
Previous Super League Meetings in Wigan
Date Result Match Report

Att

21st June 1996 Wigan 35 Saints 19 No Report ??
28th Mar 1997 Wigan 10 Saints 22 Click Here 16967
5th July 1998 Wigan 38 Saints 14 Click Here 12461
2nd April 1999 Wigan 12 Saints 14 Click Here 16283
5th Sept 1999 Wigan 28 Saints 20 Click Here 18179
9th July 2000 Wigan 28 Saints 30 Click Here 17428
30th Sept 2000 Play Off Match
Wigan 16 Saints 54
Click Here 19186
13th April 2001 Wigan 22 Saints 22 Click Here 21073
14th Sept 2001 Wigan 40 Saints 6 Click Here 15235
6th Oct 2001 Play Off Match
Wigan 44 Saints 10
Click Here 19290
30th July 2002 Wigan 22 Saints 8 Click Here 14138
8th Sept 2002 Wigan 48 Saints 8 Click Here 18749

SL Record at Central Park/JJB Stadium: Wigan 7 Saints 4 Draws 1
Overall Super League Record: Wigan 13 Saints 10 Draws 1

Matchday Weather

From bbci.

Sunny Sun, sun and more sun :).
Wind: 13mph from the East.
Temps: Max: 19°C Low: 3°C

Ticket & Ground Details
North Stand (Visitors): Adults: £12.00 Under 18 yrs: £8.00 Senior Citizens: £8.00
West Stand: Adults: £16.00 No Concessions.
East Stand: Adults: £14.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £10
South Stand: Adults: £12.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £8.00
Click for JJB Stadium Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: The Match is Live on Sky Sports 1. They are on air at 12:30 with commentary from Eddie Hemmings and Mike Stephenson. In Australia Fox Sports 1 will have delayed coverage on Friday 25th April at 12pm.
Radio: 95.1 BBC GMR are on air from 12pm with full match commentary of the match. BBC Radio Merseyside will also have full match commentary on their 1485am/mw frequency.
Internet: Sadly no internet commentary of this match.
Opposition Views
Redvee.net - Saints rlfans.com
Saints.uk.com - Official Site
Saints rlfans.com Forum
Prediction
Wigan 30 Saints 26
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