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Match Preview: Wigan v St Helens 25.03.05 12:30pm @ JJB Stadium.
Posted by Bilko on March 23 2005 - 22:30
Wigan Warriors v St Helens Engage Super League X Round 7.
Good Friday 25th March 2005. Kick Off 12:30pm at JJB Stadium.
Match Preview
Our recent record against St Helens is so good I no longer get nervous about the big derby!

My attitude at the moment is I won't be surprised if we lose and I won't be surprised if we win.

On form Saints should see us off comfortably but as so often proved in the past, form means nothing in this one.

The facts do not lie though. Saints haven't beaten Wigan at the JJB since a 54-16 win on 29th September 2000. They have been 10 times since then and lost all but one (which was a draw in 2001).

Also in Super League Saints haven't beaten Wigan home or away since 11th October 2002. A 24-8 play off victory at Knowsley Road. That's 8 Super League derby games home or away without a win for Saints.

They did of course win the Cup Final last year but in the league it's a long time to wait. 

It just leaves me with that nagging doubt that they are long overdue a derby win and that it will come sooner rather than later. But I've felt that before, so who knows what to predict?

Both sides are suffering with injuries coming into the game. Saints have Paul Sculthorpe ruled out. Apart from his goal kicking he is no great loss for mine. He is not the player who won back to back man of steels in 2001 & 2002 and has looked very lackluster in recent derby games. Not managed to score a try this year either.

Wigan have Brian Carney ruled out for 6 weeks. He joins Danny Orr and Gareth Hock on the casualty list. Dennis Moran is also reportedly injured but despite this story featuring on local radio station Wish FM and in the Wigan Evening Post, the club has not officially confirmed this which leads me to believe it's bollocks mind games and Moran will play.

The most interesting battle on the day will be in the centres, David Vaealiki v Jamie Lyon. Both big name signings for their respective clubs. 

Haven't seen much of Lyon but he had a great game against Wakefield last week on TV. He has two Super League tries so far.

Vaealiki has scored in four of our six matches so far and is our top scorer with 5 tries.

It expect it will be a case of the winner of this battle being on the winning team.

Finally, The Wigan Club are confident of breaking the attendance record for a Good Friday game against St Helens last set on Good Friday 2001 at 21,073.The Club have already sold 19,500 tickets in advance of the game and are expecting in excess of 22,000 on the day. 

Commenting on the game, Wigan Chairman, Maurice Lindsay said " All the signs are there to set a new Good Friday attendance record for the JJB Stadium. St Helens have sold over 5000 tickets and we expect more to arrive on the day. St Helens performance against Wakefield has clearly excited their fans and they will be expecting to do well on Good Friday. We will have at least 15,000 of our own fans urging our lads to do well in spite of our injury problems so we are set for a blockbuster."

The game has a 12.30pm kick-off with turnstiles open at 11am. Tickets are still available by contacting the JJB Stadium Ticket Office on 0870 11 22 552 and also at the Knowsley Road Ticket Office.

So a match where you can't predict what to expect. Good Friday 2003 when we beat Saints with a team of kids will forever live in the memory of us Wigan fans. Can we have another Good Friday to remember? We shall see.

Wigan: Kris Radlinski, Brett Dallas, Stephen Wild, David Vaealiki, Martin Aspinwall, Kevin Brown, Dennis Moran, Jerry Seuseu, Terry Newton, Jerome Guisset, Harrison Hansen, Danny Tickle, Sean O'Loughlin, Wayne Godwin, Danny Sculthorpe, Bob Beswick, Dave Allen, Liam Colbon, Chris Melling, Paul Prescott.

St Helens: Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Willie Talau, Jamie Lyon, Darren Albert, James Roby, Sean Long, Nick Fozzard, Keiron Cunningham, Paul Anderson, Lee Gilmour, Vinnie Anderson, Jon Wilkin, Mark Edmondson, Mike Bennett, James Graham, Keith Mason, Ian Hardman, Scott Moore
Opposition Site View - Redvee,net
Redvee.net sub editor "Blobby Goulding" answers our five questions this week.

Saints have a miserable record at the JJB, the last Saints derby victory at Wigan being in September 2000. Why do you think your record at the JJB has been so poor?

I think there are a number of factors. Around the time of 2001-2002 we seemed to think we were invincible, and I think complacency amongst the players set in slightly on derby day a few times - Illustrated no better than Murrayfield. Wigan definately rise to the occasion better than Saints for some reason. You could just see the extra determination, pride and commitment from 1-17 in the Wigan jerseys, yet there's only a handful of Saints players that seemed really keen to do the business.

After the awful Good Friday 2003 performance and result, I think it's become a mental problem. I dont think it's complacency as much anymore, but more a case of over arousal, and we drop passes we shouldn't.

Wigan certainly raise their game that extra 25% for derby day.

Like last season you've started the season well. Do you think Saints are now better than the team that began last year so well?

I believe so. Our pack was decent last year, but we've added better forwards to the ranks, with both Anderson's adding a great deal to our side this year. Paul adds alot of size and muscle to our pack, whilst Vinnie has a sensational offloading game. I believe he's one of the most skillful back rowers in Super League. Jamie Lyon has also been a revelation so far in the three quarters. Gleeson was a terrific player for us, but Lyon offers that little bit more, and is a potential match winner.

Which player(s) do you fear most in the Wigan side?

It was always Adrian Lam, so I'm delighted he's not playing anymore. Now, it's Terry Newton. Apart from his obvious problems with his discipline, he seems to control Wigan well from dummy half. His runners run off him well, and alot of Wigan's tries come from a short ball from Newton. The amount of times I've shouted "SHORT BALL! SHORT BALL!!!!" is quite unbelieveable, but we seem to fall for it. I think he's the dangerman again along with Danny Sculthorpe, who seems to spring holes in our defence with his offloads.

No Paul Sculthorpe for Saints, how big a blow is that?

It's disappointing to lose arguably our best player, but we'll cope OK. We performed better when he was off the field last week, so it doesn't leave me overly concerned. Also, Sculthorpe under performs in the derby. Wigan's gameplan is to nullify Sculthorpe, and it works a treat. We dont learn to play without him either, so it could do us good having to rely on others. If we lost Long aswell, we'd be in deep trouble.

Finally, what is your gut feeling ahead of the big match?

Nervous but excited at the same time. I'm confident we can win the game, but not over-confident as we've been down this road so many times before. If Saints can match Wigan's passion, pride and commitment, we should win this game, but that'll be a task in itself. I think it'll be a close game, and I wouldn't like to make a prediction in all honesty. Let's hope it's one to remember!

Big Match Official.

Referee: Ian Smith (Oldham)

Current Super League X Positions
  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
2 St Helens 6 5 0 1 220 116 +104 10
6 Wigan Warriors 6 3 0 3 172 110 +62 6
Last Six Matches - St Helens
Date Opposition Competition Result


19/03/05 Wakefield (H) SL10 Round 6 Won 64-16
11/03/05 Salford (H) SL10 Round 5 Won 46-12
04/03/05 Warrington (A) SL10 Round 4 Won 18-16
25/02/05 Huddersfield (H) SL10 Round 3 Won 34-24
18/02/05 Leeds (A) SL10 Round 2 Lost 18-30
11/02/05 Widnes (H) SL10 Round 1 Won 40-18
Super League 10 Stats
Team P W D L F A Win %
Wigan Home Record 3 2 0 1 104 38 66.6
Saints Away Record 2 1 0 1 36 46 50
Top 5 Try Scorers
David Vaealiki 5
Kris Radlinski 4
Kevin Brown 4
Terry Newton 3
Brett Dallas & Dennis Moran 2

Darren Albert 7
Willie Talau 5
Keiron Cunningham 5
Sean Long 3
James Roby 3

Top Goal Kickers
Danny Tickle 29
Saints: Paul Sculthorpe 22

Top Points Scorers
Danny Tickle 62 (1 try, 29 goals)
Saints: Paul Sculthorpe 44 (22 goals)

Ticket & Ground Details
North Stand (Visitors): Adults: £13.00 Under 18 yrs: £8.00 Senior Citizens: £8.00
West Stand: Adults: £17/£16 No Concessions.
East Stand: Adults: £15/£14 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £12/£10
South Stand: Adults: £13.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £9.00
Click for JJB Stadium Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: Match Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12:30pm
Radio: 95.1 BBC GMR will have full match commentary. GMR Sport is on air at 12:30pm
Net: All Wigan games now have online coverage from BBC GMR at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/localradio.shtml?gmr 
Opposition Views
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