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29th September 2000: Wigan 16 St Helens 54
Posted by cherryandwhite on October 21 2013 - 20:42

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Wigan Warriors v St Helens - Tetley's Super League V Qualfying Play Off
Friday 29th September 2000. Kick Off 7:30pm at JJB Stadium.

Match Report

Reigning Super League champions St Helens turned the tables on their arch rivals in sensational style to stun a JJB Stadium record crowd of 19,186 and book a return to Old Trafford.

A fortnight after going down 42-4 in a seven-try hammering at Knowsley Road, Ian Millward's men ran in nine touchdowns to secure a second successive Grand Final appearance.

Wigan, who earned the easier route to Old Trafford by finishing top of the table, must now play a final eliminator against the winners of Saturday's semi-final between Bradford and Leeds to claim a re-match with the cock-a-hoop neighbours.

Saints were unrecognisable from the side that was humiliated a fortnight ago and former Wigan scrum-half Sean Long more than made up for his nightmare that night with a personal haul of 26 points.

Saints were inspired by the dazzling hands of Long and the probing runs of loose forward Paul Sculthorpe and hooker Keiron Cunningham as their big guns fired with devastating effect.

Wigan, fresh from a week's break, made a dream start, with skipper Andy Farrell cutting through the visitors' defence deep inside his own half after only two minutes and hooker Terry Newton carrying the move on for Steve Renouf to finish decisively.

Newton, apparently not healthy enough to play for England in the World Cup, was outstanding in some smart approach work but Wigan, who could do no wrong at Knowsley Road, spoiled the good work with a series a uncharacteristic handling errors.

Long and Sculthorpe were prominent in the move that led to winger Steve Hall taking Kevin Iro's short pass to cross for his side's first try just two minutes after replacing injured centre Paul Newlove. Long added a magnificent touchline conversion and was also on target when Cunningham raced over from acting half-back for a trademark try on 28 minutes.

A 12-6 lead was no more than Saints deserved and it got even better in first-half injury time when left-winger Anthony Sullivan collected a high kick from Wigan scrum-half Willie Peters and raced in for a glorious 80-metre try.

If Wigan were surprised by Saints' first-half onslaught, they were shook rigid by their start to the second period.

Just three minutes into the re-start, the Warriors line was subjected to intense pressure and it finally told when Iro took Long's pass from dummy half to cross wide out.

Long then supported a break by Fereti Tuilagi to score Saints' fifth try, to which he added his fifth goal.

Trailing 30-6, Wigan clearly had to take risks if they were to stage a comeback and it proved their undoing on 52 minutes when Farrell lost possession on the Saints 20-metre line and Iro quickly turned defence into attack.

Long supported his break through a fragmented defence and Sullivan took it on for Tommy Martyn to finish off at the corner for another sensational score to thrill the 5,000 visiting fans.

Substitute Tony Smith pulled a try back for Wigan on 56 minutes, to which Farrell added his second goal, and Renouf grabbed his second try 10 minutes later but Saints finished in total command.

Iro and Long both claimed their second tries in the final quarter, one of them after a comedy of errors in the Wigan defence, and Sean Hoppe also touched down.

Fittingly, Long had the final say when he put over an injury-time penalty to take his goal tally to nine from 10 attempts.

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position St Helens -
1 Kris Radlinski Full Back Paul Wellens 17
2 Brett Dallas Winger Sean Hoppe 15
4 Gary Connolly Centre Kevin Iro 3
3 Steve Renouf Centre Paul Newlove 4
5 Jason Robinson Winger Anthony Sullivan 5
13 Andy Farrell Stand Off Tommy Martyn 20
7 Willie Peters Scrum Half Sean Long 7
8 Terry O'Connor Prop Apollo Perelini 8
9 Terry Newton Hooker Keiron Cunningham 9
10 Neil Cowie Prop Julian O'Neill 10
11 Mick Cassidy 2nd Row Chris Joynt 11
12 Denis Betts 2nd Row Tim Jonkers 22
19 Chris Chester L.Forward Paul Sculthorpe 13
-
6 Tony Smith Substitute Sonny Nickle 12
14 Lee Gilmour Substitute Fereti Tuilagi 14
17 Tony Mestrov Substitute Steve Hall 24
23 Brady Malam Substitute John Stankevitch 26
- Frank Endacott Coach Ian Millward -

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 16 --- St Helens 54
Tries:
Steve Renouf 2
Tony Smith
--- Tries:
Steve Hall
Keiron Cunningham
Anthony Sullivan
Kevin Iro 2
Sean Long 2
Tommy Martyn
Sean Hoppe
Goals:
Andy Farrell 2
--- Goals:
Sean Long 9

Half Time

Wigan 6 St Helens 18

Referee

Stuart Cummings (Widnes)

Match Attendance

19,186

Super League V - Week 1 Play Off Results

Friday 22nd September 2000
Qualifier: St Helens 16 Bradford Bulls 11

Saturday 23rd September 2000
Eliminator: Leeds Rhinos 22 Castleford Tigers 14

Super League V - Week 2 Play Off Results

Friday 29th September 2000
Qualifier: Wigan Warriors 16 St Helens 54

Saturday 30th September 2000
Eliminator: Bradford Bulls 46 Leeds Rhinos 12

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