This may have been a satisfying Good Friday triumph for Wigan but for prop
Terry O'Connor it could mean Wembley heartbreak.
The prop, who has only
recently forced his way back into first team reckoning, was clearly
distraught after allowing centre Paul Newlove in for the softest of tries.
"It could cost me my Wembley spot," he confessed after the game. "I
thought he had passed the ball and I pushed him away but as it turned out
only towards our try line."
Fortunately for Wigan the try did not come at a vital stage as the
Warriors had already sewn up their derby encounter against a disappointing
But coach John Monie is a perfectionist and was unhappy at leaking in
"I am not delighted with the 18 points we gave them and particularly
one of those tries. That sort of thing might cost somebody a spot at
Wembley. Other than that it is always nice to come here and get a win."
Unfortunately the game did not live up to its top billing with both
sides making errors. But it was Saints, who had clearly gambled by
throwing in several players struggling with injury, who failed to hit top
form and woeful defence against Wigan was severely punished.
Saints had a dream start when Andy Haigh caught out Tony Smith and
darted over inside two minutes and six minutes later Bobbie Goulding
popped over a penalty.
But by the break Wigan were home and dry through three slick tries. The
first came on 23 minutes when Kris Radlinski took advantage of slack
marking to dive over, Jason Robinson then scored the try of the game when
he took the ball from acting half and jinked passed three players before
racing 60 yards to touch down. Three minutes later and Lee Gilmour bounced
out of two tackles and sprinted 30 yards to score. With Andy Farrell
tagging on three goals it looked like plain sailing.
Ten minutes after the break and Saints struck when Goulding's angled
kick caught out the Wigan defence and Tommy Martyn, despite a leg injury,
dived over to score and Goulding goaled.
But any hopes of a Saints' revival were quickly dispelled when Gary
Connolly scythed through to score before Smith raced 30 yards for a
touchdown and in the dying minutes a great move resulted in Paul Johnson
dummying his way over. Farrell added three more goals. Ten minutes from
time Saints scored their last try through Newlove and Goulding added the
goal but by then the Warriors were already out of sight.