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Match Report: St Helens 16 Wigan 16
Posted by Bilko on October 05 2008 - 00:00

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Friday 5th September 2008
St Helens 16 Wigan Warriors 16
Knowsley Road, St Helens
Engage Super League 13 - Round 27 of 27

Kick Off 8:00pm


- Wigan       - St Helens    
1 Richard Mathers       1 Paul Wellens    
21 Cameron Phelps       2 Ade Gardner  T   
3 Darrell Goulding       3 Matt Gidley  T2   
4 George Carmont  T      4 Willie Talau    
5 Pat Richards    G4    5 Francis Meli    
6 Trent Barrett       14 James Roby    
7 Thomas Leuluai       7 Sean Long    G2 
8 Stuart Fielden       8 Nick Fozzard    
9 Mick Higham       9 Keiron Cunningham    
15 Andy Coley       17 James Graham    
12 Phil Bailey       11 Lee Gilmour    
16 Harrison Hansen       16 Chris Flannery    
22 Joel Tomkins  T      12 Jon Wilkin    
10 Iafeta Paleaaesina       18 Bryn Hargreaves    
14 Liam Colbon       21 Paul Clough    
19 Paul Prescott       23 Maurie Fa'asavalu    
32 Tim Smith       24 Kyle Eastmond    


Double-chasing St Helens came from 12-0 down to secure a draw in their last match of the regular season and clinch top spot in the engage Super League for a fourth year in a row.

A below-par Saints went in front for the first time with Matt Gidley's second try in the 56th minute but, in a thrilling finale, Wigan winger Pat Richards levelled the scores with a long-range penalty 10 minutes from the end.

A draw brought St Helens' 21-match winning run to an end but the point was enough to enable them to retain the League leaders' trophy which was presented to captain Keiron Cunningham at the end of an enthralling match.

Richards, in fact, had a chance to win the game for the visitors but his late drop goal attempt sailed wide of the posts.

However, the Warriors will be delighted not only to end their dismal run at the hands of their neighbours but to keep alive their hopes of a home tie in the play-offs.

Wigan had been in sight of their first win at Knowsley Road for five years after taking advantage of the sin-binning of St Helens prop James Graham to score two tries in his absence.

But they could not sustain their challenge as Saints recovered from their first-half slumbers to dominate the second period.

Without influential England stand-off Leon Pryce, who rested a calf injury, Saints looked to be suffering a hangover from their Challenge Cup triumph as they struggled for cohesion in difficult, wet conditions which were a far cry from the searing heat of Wembley.

Wigan made the better start and forced three goal-line drop-outs in the first 12 minutes.

They twice opted to run the ball after being awarded penalties in front of the St Helens posts but the home defence held firm and Saints had the first scoring opportunity when winger Francis Meli broke out of defence only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from winger Pat Richards.

When Saints attacked, George Carmont and Thomas Leuluai twice pulled off timely interceptions and it was heading for a point-less first half until a flare-up in the 18th minute changed the complexion of the match.

Graham took exception to an off-the-ball challenge from Wigan substitute Iafeta Paleaaesina and was sin-binned by referee Ashley Klein for retaliation, even though Saints were given the penalty.

Wigan took full advantage of the extra man, with skipper Trent Barrett sending Carmont over in the 25th minute to open the scoring and then producing another sublime pass to get loose forward Joel Tomkins over three minutes later.

Richards added both conversions but Saints pulled a try back just before half-time when Gidley slid over the line and video referee Ian Smith gave him the benefit of the doubt in awarding the try.

Sean Long landed the touchline conversion to cut Wigan's lead by half but Richards made it 14-6 with a 40-metre penalty within two minutes of the re-start.

St Helens were still struggling to re-discover their form and, when substitute Maurie Fa'asavalu reached the Wigan line, he was held up on his back by energetic and hungry defenders.

But the Cup holders eventually found their rhythm in the 52nd minute when snappy handling along the line gave Gidley the opportunity to send winger Ade Gardner over for his 26th try of the League campaign, his 29th in all games.

Long once more added the difficult goal to bring his side to within two points at 14-12 but was off target for the first time when Gidley took Kyle Eastmond's pass to slide over for his second try which put Saints in front for the first time as the game entered the final quarter.

But there was still plenty of drama to come, with Meli having a try disallowed in the 67th minute and Richards levelling the scores three minutes later with a second long-range penalty.

18mins:55 St Helens Sin Bin James Graham (Retaliation)
25mins:20 St Helens 00 Wigan 04 Try: George Carmont
- St Helens 00 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
28mins:29 St Helens 00 Wigan 10 Try: Joel Tomkins
- St Helens 00 Wigan 12 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/2)
38mins:43 St Helens 04 Wigan 12 Try: Matt Gidley
- St Helens 06 Wigan 12 Conversion: Sean Long (1/1)
Half Time St Helens 06 Wigan Warriors 12
42mins:48 St Helens 06 Wigan 14 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (3/3)
52mins:23 St Helens 10 Wigan 14 Try: Ade Gardner
- St Helens 12 Wigan 14 Conversion: Sean Long (2/2)
57mins:06 St Helens 16 Wigan 14 Try: Matt Gidley (2)
- St Helens 16 Wigan 14 S.Long Missed Conversion (2/3)
70mins:56 St Helens 16 Wigan 16 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (4/4)
Full Time St Helens 16 Wigan Warriors 16

Ashley Klein



Super League 13 - Round 27 Results
Fri 5 Sept St Helens 16 Wigan Warriors 16 13,500
Fri 5 Sept Wakefield Wildcats 12 Leeds Rhinos 30 6,448
Sat 6 Sept Castleford Tigers 16 Bradford Bulls 18 8,067
Sat 6 Sept Warrington Wolves 20 Huddersfield Giants 38 8,585
Sun 7 Sept Hull Kingston Rovers 36 Hull FC 8 10.197
Sun 7 Sept Harlequins 34 Catalan Dragons 24 2,447

Final Engage Super League 13 Table
- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 St Helens 27 21 1 5 940 457 +483 43
2 Leeds Rhinos 27 21 0 6 863 413 +450 42
3 Catalans Dragons 27 16 2 9 694 625 +69 34
4 Wigan Warriors 27 13 3 11 648 698 -50 29
5 Bradford Bulls 27 14 0 13 705 625 +80 28
6 Warrington Wolves 27 14 0 13 690 713 -23 28
7 Hull Kingston Rovers 27 11 1 15 564 713 -149 23
8 Wakefield Wildcats 27 11 0 16 574 760 -186 22
9 Harlequins 27 11 0 16 569 763 -194 22
10 Huddersfield Giants 27 10 1 16 638 681 -43 21
11 Hull FC 27 8 1 18 538 699 -161 17
12 Castleford Tigers 27 7 1 19 593 869 -276 15

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