In-form St Helens maintained their
unbeaten record under Ian Millward to end the 100% Super League record of
big rivals Wigan and pile on the misery for Warriors coach Frank Endacott.
Just two hours after watching his New Zealand side crash to a record 52-0
hammering in the Anzac Test in Sydney, Endacott received news of his
club's first League defeat in a high-quality derby at Knowsley Road.
Saints, who have not looked back since showing the door to Ellery
Hanley a month ago, came up with only their second win in 10 derby
fixtures to leapfrog their neighbours into second in the table.
Ironically for Endacott, his club's destroyer-in-chief was former Kiwi
Test player Kevin Iro, who scored his second hat-trick of the season as
Saints finished with a flurry of 16 points in the last 11 minutes.
Yet Wigan had made the best possible start, with skipper Andy Farrell
shaking off a poor attempted tackle from Julian O'Neill to set up a
sixth-minute try for centre Paul Johnson.
Farrell added the conversion and Wigan put the Saints defence under
enormous pressure but the home side turned the game on its head with three
tries in 19 minutes.
There was a touch of good fortune about the first, with O'Neill
profiting from a ricochet off defender Mick Cassidy, but class was stamped
all over their other first-half touchdowns.
Hugely-impressive full-back Paul Wellens handled superbly to get Iro
over after 16 minutes and then stand-off Tommy Martyn combined in
trademark fashion with half-back partner Sean Long to race.
Saints enjoyed a 12-point cushion at the break and they could have been
even further ahead but for a moment of controversy when Iro had what
looked to be a perfectly-good try disallowed by a busy video referee.
Smart handling by Martyn, Long and 20-year-old Wellens appeared to get
Iro over his second score of the half but referee Stuart Cummins referred
the matter to the fourth official, who ruled that Saints initially had
illegally gained possession from a ball-steal in their own half.
It looked like a potential turning point when Wigan substitute Simon
Haughton got into his powerful stride to send full-back Kris Radlinski
over for a 54th-minute try, to which Farrell added his third goal to make
But Long created a cushion with a 67th-minute penalty - his 100th point
of the season - and Saints cut loose with three late tries.
Iro reached out of Tony Smith's tackle for his second and then raced in
for his hat-trick before Martyn grabbed his second following a stunning