Wigan lifted the League Leaders' Shield but couldn't finish the
regular season with a win -the old enemy took the spoils 18-26 as
21,522 fans Joined Jack in a Derby Day with a significant message.
With the DW Stadium alive with colour and Joining Jack salutes,
both sides spread the message with special kits to raise awareness
for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Michael McIlorum was shown red after just quarter of an hour but
the Warriors toughed it out to stay within touching distance until
the final quarter.
The sides will now avoid each other in the first round of the
playoffs, which start at the DW Stadium on Friday, with Wigan
entertaining either Catalans or Leeds.
The Warriors got off to the perfect start when Tommy Leuluai made
his home return with a trademark try - taking on the line and
stepping through with as much muscle as grace. They looked in the
kind of mood St. Helens couldn't live with at Magic Weekend in May
but the dominance was to come to an abrupt end.
The tide swayed on the quarter hour when Wigan hooker McIlorum saw
red from referee, James Child after a late challenge on Anthony
Laffranchi and both sides responded by putting in sinew-twisting
Jonny Lomax and James Roby wasted no time in exploiting the
extra-man advantage by frequently turning the Wigan defence and the
pressure finally broke the hatch in the 23rd minute as Roby barged
over by the posts.
The Warriors struggled to make an attacking impact and as the
half-hour approached, Pat Richards and George Carmont made a rare
defensive error when a Jon Wilkin kick baffled them and nearly
gifted Saints a score. Although Wigan survived - the resulting
scrum stretched the defence too much and after a consultation with
the video referee, Tommy Makinson nudged Saints in front and nailed
the difficult touchline conversion to give the Warriors a tough
The home side were not to be put off by the extra defensive effort
required though and pushed for a leveler throughout the last five
minutes of the half - but only after yet more nerve jangling
moments when a crossfield kick looking for Meli was pulled back for
O'Loughlin then had a go at finding the Saints line but was caught
on the last, then a series of drop-outs led to Wigan having one
last push in the final play of the half after Wellens knocked the
ball dead from a Sean O'Loughlin kick.
The second half began brightly as Wigan started with more composure
than they played the majority of the first half. Pat Richards
brought the Warriors on level terms after converting his own score
which was referred to the video to check if he was in touch after
he took a sharp O'Loughlin pass from dummy half.
The Warriors continued to push to reclaim their early lead when
Liam Farrell broke to give the field position for Leuluai and Josh
Charnley to both go close but Saints regained their advantage on
the scoreboard when Andrew Dixon backed-up Tony Puletua on a break
to accept a simple pass to stride in. It took the video referee a
few looks to determine how the ball came to be in Laffranchi's
possession but the try was given and Wigan wouldn't recover.
Brett Finch broke the Saints line with a quarter of an hour to go
and after initially giving a knock-on, James Child awarded Wigan a
penalty just 10 metres out but Wigan couldn't find a way to get
back on level terms as Richards was forced into touch at the end of
a set littered with chances.
The visitors added two more scores through Josh Jones and Lomax to
seal their first victory over the Warriors in 2012 before Sam
Tomkins had the last word with a typically skillful try where he
won the race to his own short kick to ground the ball in front of
the South Stand fans.