St Helens produced an awesome display to put Wigan in the shade at
Two tries from Paul Wellens along with scores from Peter Shiels, Paul
Sculthorpe and Tim Jonkers sealed a memorable win for the home side.
Wigan battled hard and remained in contention with tries from Terry
Newton and Paul Johnson, but the Saints were always on top.
Kieron Cunningham, who this week turned down an offer to switch codes
and join Swansea, was in outstanding form.
Cunningham said afterwards that the character and determination showed
by his team-mates was influential in his decision to remain at Knowsley
"It was an absolutely outstanding performance. It showed the true
spirit of the club and was one of the reasons I decided to stay," said
The Warriors gave St Helens an early shock when Newton took advantage
of some great play by Mick Cassidy and Brian Carney on the blind side to
That was the jolt the home side needed and within 10 minutes Shiels
jumped higher than Brett Dallas from Sculthorpe's kick to go over.
It was all Saints after that with Wellens going over for his first
after a lightning pass from Keiron Cunningham.
Andy Farrell kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to 16-8, but Saints
broke again with another great ball from Cunningham finding the impressive
Sculthorpe for his try.
The writing was on the wall for Wigan after the break, but to their
credit they incessantly pressed Saints towards their tryline.
Saints skipper Chris Joynt held his troops firm but the visitors soon
utilised the great forward momentum which had seen them rise to the top of
the table when Paul Johnson went over for his 12th try of the season.
Kevin Iro and Wigan's Steve Renouf were involved in a scuffle which saw
both players sin binned and that seemed to spur Saints rather than Wigan.
After Farrell's penalty, the home side put the nail in the coffin when
Jonkers went over to the delight of the Knowsley Road faithful.
Saints coach Ian Millward was understandably delighted with his team's
"I'm really proud of the players," said Millward.
"We were under a lot of pressure. Wigan were on a big roll and we had
to defend for long periods."
Warriors coach Stuart Raper was gracious in defeat, praising the
quality of St Helens' play.
"You've got to give credit to St Helens. They played some outstanding
footie and their ball control was very good," said Raper.