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Match Preview: St Helens (H) - 22nd April 2011 at DW Stadium.
Posted by Bilko on April 21 2011 - 02:07

Wigan Warriors v St Helens - Engage Super League XVI Round 11.
Good Friday 22nd April 2011. Kick Off 2:45pm at DW Stadium.

Match Preview

Not sure why I should be confident going into the derby on Friday. I mean.....
  • Our Easter form v St Helens over the years has generally stunk (4 wins in 15 years).
  • We've won just 1 of the last 7 derbies against the enemy at DW Stadium.
  • Our home form in the last twelve month's has generally been garbage.
  • Whilst Saints have the league's best away record so far this season.
  • Saints are also on a five match winning streak
  • and we haven't really put in a big performance for a long, long time.

....it all points to a Saints win but you know what, I'm feeling pretty good about Friday's game. I just feel we are due a massive performance and now we are not far from full strength, I'm expecting it to come.

I'm not really sure what to make of Saints at the moment, because whilst a five match winning streak looks good on paper, it's a run that includes victories over four of the bottom five in the table. I think Friday will tell us a lot more about Saints than those games.

For Wigan this match comes in the middle of our run facing the bottom sides in the table, so it would be a massive fillet to get two points here and get a big roll on towards the second half of the season.

So why am I confident? Well I just think our bench is going to look far stronger. Paul Prescott, Liam Farrell and Lee Mossop are going to give us massive impetus during the game whereas Saints to me will have to make their starting pack weaker to make their bench stronger. Royce Simmons likes to start Tony Puletua at Loose Forward and with Chris Flannery dropping out the squad, surely Jon Wilkin will be promoted from last week's bench against Wakefield?

From last week's bench that leaves Scott Moore, Sean Magennis and Tom Makinson with a Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon or debutant Scott Hale to add into that mix. To me their is a struggle for impact there if Simmons goes for a powerful starting pack. I think he will be forced to use Puletua in the front row rather than at Loose Forward.

Either way, if Wigan can get on top early I think Saints will struggle to chase the game down. I think a good start is key. James Graham is a brilliant 80 minute prop but if the weather is hot he could well suffer for that, especially being a ginger. Likewise James Roby. His workrate and stats this year are unbelievable but a hot day could highlight the fact that Saints no longer have him coming off the bench.

You look back at Saints visit here last year and although it finished 26-24, Saints actually won quite comfortably and I think it was the class hooking impact off the bench that proved the huge difference. Wigan had started brilliantly that day but only got a 2-0 lead for their efforts. Saints managed to claim the first try, Roby came on and a few minutes later it was all of a sudden 16-2 to St Helens.

Over a long period of time Wigan clawed back to 16-12, so what did Saints do? They threw Keiron Cunningham back on from the  bench. Bang, bang two tries from nothing and we are chasing a big lead again at 26-12 and although we rallied for a second time, it was too late.

So what I'm saying is that in that game they had a Plan B on the bench and it proved vital for them. They don't have that now, so what Wigan need to do is make sure we force Saints into having to start scratching around for Plan B. Try and control Roby and Graham early because if they don't work for them, I don't know what else they have?

The other big factor they had that day last year was Leon Pryce. He was outstanding but will be absent this time. With Kyle Eastmond still frozen out, it looks like Gary Wheeler and Jonny Lomax will teaming up in the halves. If not, Scott Moore could go at half back but that option would weaken their bench even further? Either way it's not really ideal and it'll be a big ask for them to play opposite Paul Deacon and Thomas Leuluai with Brett Finch on the horizon as well.

In fairness the whispers I hear about Lomax seem to be good, but this a derby and he hasn't really been tested in an unnatural, to him, half back role. Doing well against bottom of the table sides is one thing, but derby day in bright sunshine with 21,000 Wigans fans humping pressure on you is a totally different kettle of fish. A youngster called Lee Gaskell has partnered him in all those recent games, and from what I've seen at academy level he is a class act, but he's out injured this time so Wheeler and Lomax will be a totally new and inexperienced combination. Wigan really should be looking to slaughter these two. Put them under pressure and make them sweat into mistakes.

Whilst writing this I've made a point on the redvee.net forums to a Saints fan who basically said he believed Saints will win on Friday because games are won in the forwards and I'm dismissing that as complete bollocks to be honest. Of course a big pack on it's day can be vital but I would suggest all Saints have is a big pack and that's why they have so often been found out in recent Grand Finals?

In last year's Grand Final and at Cardiff this year I think Wigan killed Saints in the backs. We scored some great tries from deep, which is something Saints couldn't really replicate.

Clearly Saints fans yet again are pinning hopes on them over running us in the pack and yes they did that at DW Stadium last year but from the team that did it last year, Matt Gidley, Chris Flannery, Leon Pryce and Keiron Cunningham are not going to be there this time. Whilst from our team that day swap Phil Bailey for Ryan Hoffman and Feka Paleaaesina for Jeff Lima and on paper that's an improvement whilst we also had no Paul Deacon, Harrison Hansen or Lee Mossop that time. So on balance I think we are far better off?

Another key to victory is that we don't give them too many penalties because Saints are so well disciplined it is untrue. Every team in Super League is clustered between conceding on average around 7-10 penalties per match, except for St Helens. They fly alone with an average of just 5.5 penalties conceded per match. That's a huge advantage. Now you can argue whether that is earned or pure bias or whatever but it is a fact and Wigan need to be wary of it.

All in all, the more I've wrote this preview the more confident I've become. We really should be beating Saints if we are honest considering they have an inexperienced half back combination and subs bench. We need to get out there and kick their arses in the first twenty minutes. Get bloody ripped in and try to beat them at their own game. Do that and I just can't see past us. I genuinely don't believe Saints have the ability nowadays to beat us with individual class. As ever though, we shall see what happens on the day. Pride does come into it so who knows what will happen. Just bring it on!

19 Man Squads

IN:l Darrell Goulding
OUT:l Stefan Marsh
Full 19: Sam Tomkins, Darrell Goulding, George Carmont, Pat Richards, Paul Deacon, Thomas Leuluai, Michael McIlorum, Andy Coley, Harrison Hansen, Joel Tomkins, Sean O'Loughlin, Paul Prescott, Jeff Lima, Ryan Hoffman, Brett Finch, Lee Mossop, Liam Farrell, Chris Tuson, Josh Charnley.

St Helens
IN:l Francis Meli. Andrew Dixon, Scott Hale
OUT:l Chris Flannery, Tom Armstrong, Lee Gaskell
Full 19: Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Michael Shenton, Sia Soliola, Francis Meli, James Roby, James Graham, Tony Puletua, Jon Wilkin, Scott Moore, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Gary Wheeler, Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon, Jonny Lomax, Shaun Magennis, Jamie Foster, Tom Makinson, Scott Hale.

Match Referee

Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury) - Age 34
First Pro Game: York v Batley - March 28th 1999
First Super League Game: Halifax 30 Salford 18 - May 6th 2001
First Wigan Game: Wakefield 14 Wigan 30 - May 1st 2002

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

Wigan have Won 30, Drawn 2 and Lost 12 from 44 appointments.
This Season: Won 0, Drawn 2, Lost 0 from 2 appointments.

Video Referee

Thierry Alibert

Current Super League XVI League Positions

  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
2nd St Helens 10 7 1 2 306 178 +128 15
5th Wigan Warriors 9 5 2 2 210 169 +41 12

Super League Team Stats - Averages per Game

- Wigan Saints League Best League Worst
Attack Points per Game 23.3pts


Warrington 32.9pts Wakefield 18.2pts
Defence Pts Agst per Game 18.7pts


Hudds'field 13.4pts Crusaders 34pts
Tries Scored per Game 4.2


Warrington 5.8 Wakefield 3.2
Tries Conceded per Game 3.2


Huddersfield 2.4 Crusaders 5.9
Metres Made per Game 1285m


St Helens 1531m Hull KR 1177m
Ball Carries per Game 207.1


St Helens 234.9 Crusaders 186.7
Av.Metres per Ball Carry 6.20m


Harlequins 6.62m Salford 5.93m
Tackle Busts per Game 24


Hudds'field 29.2 Wakefield 16.5
Clean Breaks per Game 4.3


(2 Teams) 6.1 Wakefield 3.3
Offloads per Game 7.7


Leeds 16.5 Wigan 7.7
Attacking Kicks per Game 10.2


Huddersfield 13 Leeds 10
Kicks in Gen Play per Game 20.3


Wakefield 21.2 Leeds 16.2
Dummy Half Runs per Game 43.7


St Helens 48.8 Hull KR 20.8
Tackles per Game 337.8


Wigan 337.8 Warrington 281.5
Marker Tackles per Game 51.8


Wigan 51.8 Castleford 35.8
Errors per Game 11.4


Castleford 10

Leeds 14.9
Penalties Against per Game 7.5


St Helens 5.5 Crusaders 10

Individual Player Stats

- Wigan St Helens League Leader
Top Try Scorer Josh Charnley 5

(3 Players) 6

(2 Players) 9
Top Goal Scorer Paul Deacon 11

Jamie Foster 40

(2 Players) 45
Top Points Scorer Josh Charnley 30

Jamie Foster 108

Brett Hodgson 114
Top Try Assister (2 Players) 4

Gaskell/Roby 7

Rangi Chase 14
Top Metre Maker Sam Tomkins 1136m

James Roby 2049m

James Roby 2049m
Top Ball Carrier Sam Tomkins 160

James Roby 381

James Roby 381
Top Tackle Buster Sam Tomkins 37

Jonny Lomax 38

Rob Burrow 40
Top Clean Breaker Sam Tomkins 10

Ade Gardner 8

J.McGillvray 13
Top Offloader George Carmont 11

James Roby 20

Chris Bailey 29
Top Attacking Kicker Thomas Leuluai 29

Lee Gaskell 36

Danny Brough 77
Top General Kicker Thomas Leuluai 57

Lee Gaskell 70

Danny Brough 134
Top DH Runner Mike McIlorum 126

James Roby 316

James Roby 316
Top Tackler Mike McIlorum 302

James Roby 396

C.Fitzgibbon 441
Top Marker Tackler Lee Mossop 48

James Roby 51

C.Fitzgibbon 79
Worst Miss Tackler Coley/Hansen 16

James Roby 19

Stephen Wild 39
Most Errors Josh Charnley 11

Jonny Lomax 17

(5 Players) 17
Most Pens Conceded O'L'lin/Hoffman 10

Lee Gaskell 6

Michael Witt 16

Super League Era Head to Head Record including Play Offs

Overall Played 51 Wigan 25 Wins St Helens 23 Win 3 Draws
At Wigan Played 25 Wigan 14 Wins St Helens 10 Wins 1 Draw
At Easter Played 15 Wigan 4 Wins St Helens 9 Wins 2 Draws
Easter at Wigan Played 7 Wigan 2 Wins St Helens 4 Wins 1 Draw

Super League Form Table - Last Six League Matches Only

- Team W D L F A Diff Sequence Pts
1 Huddersfield Giants 5 0 1 195 78 +117 10
2 St Helens 5 0 1 194 99 +95 10
3 Castleford Tigers 4 1 1 202 122 +80 9
4 Warrington Wolves 4 0 2 222 75 +147 8
5 Catalan Dragons 4 0 2 163 136 +27 8
6 Wigan Warriors 3 1 2 118 127 -9 7
7 Salford City Reds 3 0 3 154 158 -4 6
8 Leeds Rhinos 2 1 3 146 146 - 5
9 Hull FC 2 0 4 120 136 -16 4
10 Hull Kingston Rovers 2 0 4 144 184 -40 4
11 Bradford Bulls 2 0 4 126 208 -82 4
12 Wakefield Wildcats 2 0 4 100 174 -74 4
13 Harlequins 1 1 4 143 238 -95 3
14 Crusaders 1 0 5 100 236 -136 2

Wigan Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 3, Drawn 1 Lost 2

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
15th April Hull KR (A)

SL 16 Round 10

Won 28-16
8th April Catalan (H) SL 16 Round 9 Lost 28-47
1st April Leeds (A) SL 16 Round 8 Draw 22-22
25th March Warrington (H) SL 16 Round 7 Lost 06-24
18th March Huddersfield (A) SL 16 Round 6 Won 20-06
13th March Hull FC (H) SL 16 Round 5 Won 14-12

Wigan 2011 League Home Record
Played 3: Won 1 Lost 2 (Ranked: Fifth Worst in League) - 33.3% Win Rate.

St Helens Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 5 Lost 1

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
15th April Wakefield (H) SL 16 Round 10 Won 52-06
8th April Crusaders (A) SL 16 Round 9 Won 34-18
1st April Hull KR (H) SL 16 Round 8 Won 34-16
25th March Bradford (H) SL 16 Round 7 Won 28-16
19th March Leeds (A) SL 16 Round 6 Won 30-16
11th March Harlequins (H) SL 16 Round 5 Lost 16-27

St Helens 2011 League Away from Home Record
Played 5: Won 4, Drawn 1, Lost 0 (Ranked: Best in League) - 90% Win Rate.

Previous Six Meetings at DW Stadium

Date Opposition Report
20th June 2010 Wigan Warriors 24 St Helens 26 Click Here
9th April 2009 Wigan Warriors 12 St Helens 19 Click Here
18th July 2008 Wigan Warriors 12 St Helens 46 Click Here
14th Sept 2007 Wigan Warriors 20 St Helens 12 Click Here
6th April 2007 Wigan Warriors 14 St Helens 32 Click Here
27th May 2006 Wigan Warriors 14 St Helens 28 Click Here

Hot Streaks

  • Josh Charnley has scored five tries in his last seven matches.
  • Joel Tomkins has scored two tries in two matches playing Centre.
  • George Carmont has scored a try in each of his last two matches.

Cold Streaks

  • Andy Coley has not scored in 19 matches since Catalan (A) - July 4th 2010.
  • Paul Deacon has not scored in 18 matches since Salford (A) - Apr 11th 2010.
  • Paul Prescott has never scored a try in 48 matches at DW Stadium.
  • Lee Mossop hasn't scored in his last 11 matches at DW Stadium.
  • Paul Deacon has never scored a try in 11 matches at DW Stadium.

Ticket Details

This Match has now SOLD OUT.

UK TV Coverage

LIVE COVERAGE Good Friday 2:30pm
1 Hour Highlights Good Friday 9:00pm
1 Hour Highlights Good Friday Midnight
1 Hour Highlights Easter Sat 4:30am
Highlights Sunday 12:45pm -

Radio Commentary

Wish FM (102.4) - Derby Coverage begins at 1pm with the usual Friday Pre Match Ger'rum On Side show in an earlier time slot. Then from 2pm the station will build up to the game with full match uninterrupted commentary from Mark Wilson, Andy Gregory and Paul Clough.
BBC Radio Manchester (95.1FM)
- The match will be the main commentary game with updates on Salford v Warrington at the Willows. Coverage begins at 2pm.

Bilko's Statistical prediction.

The stats suggest a St Helens Win by 8 Points.

Weather Forecast

Dry and very warm with a chance of "one or two sharp showers".

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