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26th December 1996: Wigan 32 St Helens 22
Posted by cherryandwhite on October 20 2013 - 21:34

Click: Last Derby - Click: Next Derby

Wigan 32 St Helens 22 - Boxing Day Thursday 26th December 1996
Venue: Central Park, Wigan
Competition: Norweb Challenge First Leg (Friendly)
Kick Off: 3:00pm

WiganlBacks:l 1. Doc Murray, 2. Danny Ellison, 3. Kris Radlinski, 4. Andy Johnson, 5. Daryl Cardiss, 6. Sean Long, 7. Craig Murdock
WiganlForwards:l 8. Neil Cowie, 9. Martin Hall, 10. Ian Sherratt, 11. Steve Barrow, 12. Stephen Holgate, 13. Andy Farrell

14. Gael Tallec, 15. Lee Gilmour, 16. Neil Baynes, 17. Hatton


Kris Radlinski 3, Doc Murray, Gael Tallec, Danny Ellison

WiganlGoals:l Andy Farrell 4

StlHelenslBacks:l 1. Steve Prescott, 2. Danny Arnold, 3. Andy Northey, 4. Paul Newlove, 5. Anthony Sullivan, 6. Alan Hunte, 7. Lee Briers
StlHelenslForwards:l 8. Apollo Perelini, 9. Alan Cross, 10. Julian O'Neill, 11. Derek McVey, 12. Ian Pickavance, 13. Chris Morley

14. Paul Anderson, 15. Vila Matautia, 16. Simon Booth, 17. Dean Busby


Derek McVey 2, Lee Briers, Alan Hunte

StlHelenslGoals:l Steve Prescott 2, Lee Briers 1
Half Time:l

Wigan 16 St Helens 6




Stuart Cummings (Widnes)


Rugby starved fans turned out in force to soak up some festive fare.

They did not appear to mind both teams were missing half a dozen of their top stars. It was rugby; fast and frenetic, tough and uncompromising as usual and they lapped it up.

Wigan should have won at a canter but they appeared to ease up in the final stages allowing Saints to rally towards the end and the 10 point margin keeps the £20,000 challenge alive. The two sides clash again in the second leg at Knowsley Road on New Year's Day.

As Saints' coach Shaun McRae conceded: "The scoreline flattered us. The way they started I thought the margin could have been 40 points."

Centre Kris Radlinski's first-half hat-trick set up the win that sent out a chilling off-season warning to the rest of Super League.

Wigan made light of missing eight internationals to destroy the Super League champions with reserve half-back partnership Craig Murdock and Sean Long showing they are going to be a force for the future.

Murdock's chip kick to the corner put Radlinski over for his first try with just inches to spare. Saints replied as Australian forward Derek McVey crossed over to complete a superb cross-field move, but rampant Wigan punished the Saints and overcame ring-rustiness to build a 16-6 interval lead.

Long's kick to the corner produced a carbon-copy try for Radlinski before the Wigan centre raced onto a Steve Barrow pass to complete his try trio on the stroke of half-time.

The Warriors maintained their dominance after the break with Kiwi full-back David 'Doc' Murray and substitute Lee Gilmore celebrating tries on their debuts.

McVey's second touchdown provided a short relief for St Helens, who were also missing four first-team regulars including Great Britain scrum-half Bobbie Goulding.

But Wigan were not to be denied their Christmas cracker and completed a six-try haul when winger Danny Ellison went over on the overlap in the corner.

Scrum-half Lee Briers and stand-off Alan Hunte grabbed late consolation touchdowns to put a little bit more respectability to the scoreline for Saints.

Wigan coach Graeme West was happy with his side's display. "Considering we had to make two late changes I was delighted with the way the lads performed. It gave the youngsters the chance to gain some valuable experience."

Wigan's new trio of signings were on show but only Murray impressed with strong running from full-back. He took the sponsors man-of-the-match award but GB skipper Andy Farrell was the star of the show with a top class performnace.

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