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Match Report: St Helens 10 Wigan 28
Posted by cherryandwhite on April 08 2012 - 13:44

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St Helens v Wigan Warriors - Stobart Super League XVII Round 10.
Good Friday 6th April 2012. Kick Off 2:45pm at Langtree Park.

Match Report

I said in my match preview that I was confident going into this one and so I was proved right. I talked about how many were getting a little bit carried away with Saints efforts in the past fortnight and this result justified it for me.

Ok they might well point to the injury to Jonny Lomax after 15 minutes but to be honest, I don't think that would have made any difference to the end result. Why? Because a Wigan pack, that was minus Lee Mossop, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Eric Lauaki and Sean O'Loughlin, totally dominated St Helens in that game. Total Domination! 32 minutes into the game and a stat pops up on the Sky coverage which reads "play the balls in opp half" and its Saints 6 Wigan 38. That highlights how much we dominated.

Reality was Saints scored their first try off our error and the second came off numerous penalties and that was the only way they looked like scoring. They continue to be a paceless team with very little threat from deep and that really is why they have been failing when it's come to the crunch games in recent years and why I can't see that changing. They relied heavily on James Graham and rely heavily now on James Roby. Wigan had Roby well and truly controlled in this contest and no one else really stood up to the plate to cover that.

For us, even Michael Maguire we used to rely heavily on the backs to win games, but not any more. This is an all dominating pack under Shaun Wane. That performance should have proved it to you. All those absences up front but it didn't matter. We have so much depth in the pack its untrue. "Henderson" Gil Dudson came in for a debut and had a great game.

Having said all that, it was important that we had all our backs fit. That will probably end up being the key to our season, if we can keep our backs fit we have a cracking chance to reclaim the title we won in 2010 because the pack is more than good enough.

Personally, I had actually planned a quiet ish pre match so I could stay out for the day - but it didn't quite work out. Five pints by kick off saw me only getting on the ground right on kick off and the terrace was so packed I had to stand in the aisle. I actually quite liked this new ground. It was certainly different from the old Knowsley Road but the atmosphere was fantastic.

With Lee Mossop, Liam Farrell and Ben Flower dropping out from the Salford match, Jeff Lima and Chris Tuson were promoted to start with Tom Spencer, Jack Hughes and Gil Dudson coming onto the bench. Pat Richards, despite not being fully fit and unable to goal kick, returned on the left wing also in place of Matty Russell. Saints had Paul Wellens and Anthony Laffranchi suspended following their clash with Warrington last weekend.

First chance of the game fell to Wigan, when young full back Tom Makinson fumbled a grubber in the first minute, but we failed to take advantage with Brett Finch soon making the only error he would make all afternoon.

Wigan had slightly the better territory early but didn't really test the try line. It was still a bitter pill though when Saints took the lead on 10 minutes from a Sam Tomkins error. Lance Hohaia put a kick in towards the left corner which Sam collected but he fumbled under a tackle from Josh Jones. Hohaia scooped up and Francis Meli touched down in the corner. Credit here to Josh Charnley who tried his best to stop that one but with new rules deeming the corner flag defunct, it was hard for him to do anything else than what he did. Jonny Lomax tried to convert off the touchline but failed.

It was then a rough 17th minute for Saints in which Wigan got over for their first score of the day. Hohaia threw a pass to a worm in the turf and Harrison Hansen scooped on the loose ball to give us possession thirty metres out. It was at this point that Lomax was seen leaving the field and in the same instant Leuluai and Sam combined to send Darrell "Fuzzy" Goulding over the line. Pleased for him, he's a proper good job man for our team and personally I think he's looking far more an effective centre than Joel Tomkins ever was. Some were wary of Fuzzy being a centre option but he's doing a good job I think. Charnley, with his ridiculous quiff haircut, was on goal kicking and slotted that one over for a 6-4 Wigan lead.

With no backs on the bench, Saints had to switch Jon Wilkin to half back and he's about as useful there as a priest in Saudi Arabia. So it proved, because Wigan began to dominate the territory even more now with constant pressure on the Saints line. Pat Richards went close on 22 minutes but his foot was just on the touchline before he could ground the ball. Looked a knock on anyway in fairness.

It was not long after that chance that Pat departed the match himself and didn't return. His departure meant Jack Hughes came in a right centre with Goulding switching across to cover on the left wing. I suspect Hughes was on the bench to be interchanged with the back row but it probably strengthened us really to see him go in at centre instead of having a half fit Pat. Two reasons for that. One, like I said Saints have very little threat out wide and two, both Hansen and Hock in the back row were playing like beasts!

The no try for Pat really didn't matter because Wigan scored their second try three minutes later following a knock on from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook. A fourth tackle offside penalty followed and soon after Finch sent Carmont over. Took some scoring that but Carmont had enough to reach over. Charnley converted for a 12-4 lead.

Now I've got to be honest, after that I never felt this result was in doubt. Even when Saints got back to 12-10 early second half. I can't recall a more comfortable afternoon at Saints away for me. We were in total control in the pack and the reality was that the only match winner for St Helens would have been Phil Bentham.

12-4 though wasn't really a true reflection for our pack dominance and a Jack Hughes effort on 39 minutes would have been the perfect end to the half for us, but I think the video ref got it right in saying he didn't ground the ball. Close but no cigar as they say.

In the second half and Saints had a big ten minutes off the back of some poor Wigan discipline. We hadn't conceded penalty in the first 31 minutes, in which I mentioned earlier that Saints had just 6 play the balls in our half during that time, but in twenty minutes either side of the break we had conceded 7 penalties and this really coincided with Saints best spell of the game. The pressure had to tell and they scored a really soft effort on 51 minutes with Sia Soliola crashing over. Tom Makinson's conversion making it 12-10 to Wigan.

Saints continued to rally and who knows had they scored here the game might have been different but like I said, I never felt we were short of having enough to win. Possession was mightily in Saints favour in this part of the game and we showed our class by soaking it all up and then going up the other end of the field and scoring ourselves.

Luck for Gareth Hock in the build up as he was awarded a penalty after Josh Perry slapped him, when really he should have been pulled up for moving off the mark himself, but his offload to send Sam in off the back of that penalty was all class. Sam danced under the sticks and Charnley's conversion made it 18-10.

After that this game was never, ever in doubt. Saints put no pressure on us really and Wigan cruised home in the final twenty minutes. Our hard work and calm half back play was just controlling the game. We were outdoing Saints for passion also.

Wigan still had to wrap up the result and it came in a spell on 72 minutes. Goulding broke clear down the left and had beaten Michael Shenton for pace. Makinson came across from full back but Fuzzy cleverly hacked inside towards the in goal. He looked an all certain try scorer but Shenton clearly obstructed him. Now screams of penalty try everywhere here and I think it should of been even though Makinson was in the vicinity. I don't think the video referee got it wrong though. The rule is that he has to be 100% certain he could score. Ok Makinson was there but you how often are you going to ever be 100% certain? It's th rule that is wrong for me. I don't think anyone could really argue that Goulding was deliberately taken out and deserved the try?

Anyway, the decision was NO TRY and instead we got a penalty ten metres out and a sin binning for Shenton. The decision didn't matter because we were in seconds later with Finch's lovely dummy sending Hock over for a try that his match effort deserved. A lot of fuss over him throwing the ball in the crowd at this point. For me their is no need for it but it was just genuine passion for a player who hasn't tasted victory in an away derby at St Helens since he scored in a 28-4 win at Knowsley Road back in September 2003!

Charnley missed the kick, so Saints still had a sniff at 22-10 but it was never, ever on for them. Wigan wrapped up the result in the 77th minute with Leuluai sending Jeff Lima over for the fourth try of his Wigan career. Charnley converted to make it 28-10 and complete a very sweet hatrick of easter derby victories for us Cherry and Whites. Enduring the miserable easter derbies of 2006 to 2009 makes those three all the better! Let's hope we can back up now against Wakefield on Monday!

Reaction to the Action

Shaun Wane: "I'm made up, I'm the happiest man in the north west. It was a great effort with the injuries we had and we had people there who wouldn't have played if everybody was fit. The toughness we showed was absolutely outstanding. It was a convincing win against a really talented Saints team. We had to dig in and defend, which showed the character and team spirit. We had a chat in the week about how important this first game at this stadium was and how much it means to the local players. Sam (Tomkins) has been really sick (with tonsillitis) but there is no way he would ever have missed this. This win means everything to (Gareth Hock). He wouldn't have (thrown the ball into the crowd) intentionally. He would have been pumped to have scored that try."

St Helens coach Mike Rush: "I didn't think we were far away. At 12-10 we decided to run the ball rather than take a shot with the penalty because we felt we had the momentum. A decision from the referee shortly afterwards changed the game a little bit. Losing a key player part way through a game is difficult. Jonny (Lomax) has a finger injury and Jon (Wilkin) has ice on his shoulder. We need to get them both assessed."

Team Sheets

- St Helens Position Wigan 1
21 Tom Makinson Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
2 Ade Gardner Winger Josh Charnley 2
3 Michael Shenton Centre Darrell Goulding 3
26 Josh Jones Centre George Carmont 4
5 Francis Meli Winger Pat Richards 5
6 Lance Hohaia Stand Off Brett Finch 6
7 Jonny Lomax Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Josh Perry Prop Paul Prescott 8
9 James Roby Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
18 Shaun Magennis Prop Jeff Lima 14
11 Tony Puletua 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 11
13 Chris Flannery 2nd Row Gareth Hock 12
12 Jon Wilkin L.Forward Chris Tuson 17
-
4 Iosia Soliola Substitute Gil Dudson 22
10 Louie McCarthy-
Scarsbrook
Substitute Jack Hughes 26
15 Mark Flanagan Substitute Logan Tomkins 28
16 Paul Clough Substitute Tom Spencer 32
- Mike Rush Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

St Helens 10 --- Wigan Warriors 28
Tries (2):
Francis Meli
Iosia Soliola
--- Tries (5):
Darrell Goulding
George Carmont
Sam Tomkins
Gareth Hock
Jeff Lima
Goals:
Jonny Lomax 0/1
Tom Makinson 1/1
--- Goals:
Josh Charnley 4/5

Scoring and Incident Pattern

9mins:50 St Helens 04 Wigan 00 Try: Francis Meli
- St Helens 04 Wigan 00 J.Lomax Missed Conversion (0/1)
16mins:41 St Helens 04 Wigan 04 Try: Darrell Goulding
- St Helens 04 Wigan 06 Conversion: Josh Charnley (1/1)
25mins:07 St Helens 04 Wigan 10 Try: George Carmont
- St Helens 04 Wigan 12 Conversion: Josh Charnley (2/2)
Half Time St Helens 04 Wigan Warriors 12
51mins:36 St Helens 08 Wigan 12 Try: Iosia Soliola
- St Helens 10 Wigan 12 Conversion: Tom Makinson (1/1)
59mins:47 St Helens 10 Wigan 16 Try: Sam Tomkins
- St Helens 10 Wigan 18 Conversion: Josh Charnley (3/3)
71mins:11 St Helens Sin Bin Michael Shenton (Obstruction)
71mins:56 St Helens 10 Wigan 22 Try: Gareth Hock
- St Helens 10 Wigan 22 J.Charnley Missed Conversion (3/4)
76mins:27 St Helens 10 Wigan 26 Try: Jeff Lima
- St Helens 10 Wigan 28 Conversion: Josh Charnley (4/5)
Full Time St Helens 10 Wigan Warriors 28

Video Highlights

Top 5 Wigan Players as voted on our Message Board

Man of the Match: Gareth Hock
2nd: Brett Finch 3rd: Harrison Hansen 4th: Jeff Lima 5th: Mike McIlorum

Referee

Richard Silverwood

Penalties Conceded

St Helens 10 Wigan 8

Match Attendance

17,980

Television

Weather

Dry Overcast Afternoon.

League Table after Super League 17 Round 10

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Huddersfield Giants 10 8 0 2 309 166 +143 16
2 Hull FC 9 7 1 1 260 140 +120 15
3 Warrington Wolves 10 7 1 2 301 188 +119 15
4 Wigan Warriors 10 7 0 3 338 177 +161 14
5 Catalan Dragons 9 7 0 2 302 186 +116 14
6 Leeds Rhinos 9 5 0 4 224 180 +44 10
7 Bradford Bulls 10 5 0 5 190 239 -49 10
8 St Helens 10 4 1 5 258 205 +53 9
9 Salford City Reds 10 4 0 6 228 304 -76 8
10 Hull Kingston Rovers 10 3 1 6 232 270 -38 7
11 Castleford Tigers 10 3 0 7 190 312 -122 6
12 London Broncos 10 2 0 8 232 312 -80 4
13 Wakefield Wildcats 9 2 0 7 162 242 -80 4
14 Widnes Vikings 10 2 0 8 157 462 -305 4

Round 10 Results (Good Friday)
Thu 5 Apr London Broncos 18 Catalan Dragons 36 1,829
Thu 5 Apr Warrington Wolves 46 Widnes Vikings 12 12,042
Fri 6 Apr Hull FC 36 Hull Kingston Rovers 6 18,979
Fri 6 Apr St Helens 10 Wigan Warriors 28 17,980
Fri 6 Apr Huddersfield Giants 36 Salford City Reds 10 6,998
Fri 6 Apr Wakefield Wildcats 16 Castleford Tigers 34 9,786
Fri 6 Apr Bradford Bulls 12 Leeds Rhinos 4 20,851

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