Wigan cast aside their injury worries to end their arch rivals'
10-match winning run and rekindle their own hopes of a top-two finish in Super
Defences were on top throughout a try-less first half but the
Warriors overcame the absence of five internationals to secure a precious
victory with three tries in a devastating 14-minute spell early in the second
What can you say, a fantastic performance by Wigan. Saints
though were pathetic to say the least. They made over twenty handling errors and
completed just three sets of six. That is awful.
The first half was a
real defensive battle which was penalty-ridden. Wigan had an early opportunity
to take the lead from Julian O'Neill boot but he missed the kick wide from 20
In the 25 Minute however, O'Neill had a second opportunity to
give us the lead and he did so.
On 29 Minutes, referee, Russell Smith
sent Peter Shiels to the sin bin for persistent interference at the
play-the-ball. Wigan failed to capitalise on this and just as the half time
siren had sounded, referee Russell Smith awarded Saints a penalty after a
professional foul awarded against second rower Mick Cassidy. He was also sent to
the sin bin and Sculthorpe kicked the goal from 40 yards to tie the scores level
at Half Time, 2-2.
Now having failed to make the most of their numerical
advantage in the first half, Wigan managed to score the game's first try whilst
down to 12 men.
The breakthrough came courtesy of some neat inter-play on
the last tackle between centre David Hodgson and his winger, Jamie Ainscough,
who raced down the left wing onto his partner's kick and timed his dive to
perfection to claim the precious touchdown in the corner. O'Neill landed the
touchline conversion to make it 8-2 after 45 minutes.
Six minutes later,
Adrian Lam put Wigan in an attacking position with a successful 40-20 kick and
he showed superb pace to beat the Saints defence and get the Warriors second
try. O'Neill again added the extras and 8-2 became 14-2 on 51 minutes.
58 minutes, Saints' Paul Newlove was found guilty of interference at the play
the ball and O'Neill kicked the penalty to extend our led to
Moments later, Wigan went over for there third and final try of the
O'Neill set up David Furner with a neat reverse pass, to allow him
to score his third try in two matches. O'Neill converted and the 22-2 scoreline
left the visitors shell-shocked.
Saints did manage a consolation try on
69 minutes through substitute Tommy Martyn who intercepted O'Neill's pass deep
inside his own half, holding off the cover to score. Sculthorpe added the goal
but it was too little, too late for St Helens. Any chance of a comeback was
bombed when Chris Joynt comically knocked on from the re-start following that
After the game coach Stuart Raper hailed his side's 22-8 victory
over St Helens as one of the finest of his career.
"It's got to be up
there with the best, with everything that's been going on," said
"We've had so much disruption, with guys out and others doubtful
until the last minute.
"They dug deep and I'm really proud of them. All
the kids showed up as well as the experienced guys.
"It probably wasn't
a spectacle but the physical contest was terrific. I thought we had the right
game plan. It was always going to be a game of field position."
paid tribute to Australian threequarter Jamie Ainscough, who raced onto a kick
from centre partner David Hodgson and timed his dive to perfection on the greasy
surface to score the game's opening try.
"I don't think many other
players could have scored that try," he said. "He's a bit of an enigma. A few
people have had the daggers out for him but he's winning them over. He was
St Helens coach Ian Millward was left to rue a
series of handling errors from his players, who were unable to cope with the
"They held the ball and we didn't," he said. "I've no
problems with the result. We got what we deserved.
"But we'll be back
here again and we'll try to get it right next time. I am sure we are not going
to dig any graves tonight.
"We've had a good run but we find a loss very
challenging. We learn a lot from it."