The St Helens Saints have come out on top in a highly charged derby against the Wigan Warriors, running out 26-2 winners.
In a tight match, both Wigan and St Helens had players sent off, with Saints claiming their second victory of the season against the Cherry and Whites.
|Wigan Athletic (2) 2|
|St Helens (12) vs. St Helens (12) vs. St|
|Grace, Dodd, Percival, and Walmsley are among the candidates. Coote scored four goals, while Dodd scored one.|
In a tense Super League match at the DW Stadium, St Helens cruised to a derby victory over Wigan Warriors.
Saints’ first try was scored by Regan Grace, and their advantage was increased by Lewis Dodd, who stole the ball before running over.
As he raced through, Mark Percival took advantage of Wigan sending Willie Isa to the bin, putting Saints 16 points up.
With a first-half penalty goal, Harry Smith scored Wigan’s lone points, and Alex Walmsley added a late emphatic try to seal the victory for Saints.
St Helens, who defeated Wigan in a dramatic Super League Grand Final last season, have now completed the double against Wigan this season, defeating them 26-6 at home in July.
Wigan got off to a bad start as Liam Marshall got hurt in the opening tackle of the game and had to be taken out for a head injury examination.
Grace, who made his Super League debut in this match in 2017, got Saints off to a flying start with a signature try in the corner.
After 15 minutes, both teams had players sent off after an incident after Saints conceded a penalty, and it was a portent of things to come as James Bentley and John Bateman were sent out.
Jackson Hastings was fortunate not to be penalized for grabbing Saints’ Lachlan Coote by the neck and pulling him down just before he could run over for the visitors’ third try of the night in front of a boisterous 16,000-strong crowd.
As emotions rose, Bentley caught Marshall high with a tackle, and Bateman was sin-binned for the second time, this time for dissent.
Isa was placed on report for a hard off-the-ball challenge on Jack Welsby just before the hour mark, then Isa was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook just after Bateman returned.
Wigan had a night to forget as they failed to score a try at home for the first time since relocating to the DW Stadium in 1999, as they seldom troubled their opponents while in possession.
Adrian Lam, manager of the Wigan Warriors:
“It was a difficult game.” We didn’t get off to the best start, and the second attempt backfired. The second half was a complete disaster. I believe we were outscored 9-1 in penalties, and we played most of the second half with just 12 players.
“I’m not happy with our discipline.” I like feeling things, but you must be intelligent to do so. I believe we overplayed our hand there, and it has come back to bite us.
“We launched a weak assault and failed to control the process.” We were disappointed by whatever we attempted; it was nothing like how we had practiced.
“I have faith in them. I know tonight was a huge letdown, but I have faith in the group to pull together and get it right over the next several weeks. I know they are optimistic about what we may do in the future.”
Kristian Woolf, head coach of St Helens:
“It was precisely the reaction we wanted [after losing to Castleford].” We didn’t perform up to our expectations last week, but I was really pleased and proud of how we performed today.
“Right from the outset, we began with a lot of energy and showed a lot of discipline.”
“It’s difficult under such circumstances. Rugby league is a sport with an element of violence, and there is always a thin line to walk.
“The atmosphere was fantastic, which created some stress, but I felt our guys handled it well.”
Hardaker, Bibby, Isa, Gildart, Marshall, Hastings, Smith, Havard, Shorrocks, Partington, Farrell, Pearce-Paul, Smithies. Wigan: Hardaker, Bibby, Isa, Gildart, Marshall, Hastings, Smith, Havard, Shorrocks, Partington, Farrell, Pearce-Paul, Smithies.
Bateman, Bourouh, Bullock, and Byrne are among the subs.
Coote, Naiqama, Welsby, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Dodd, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Thompson, Bentley, Knowles. St Helens: Coote, Naiqama, Welsby, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Dodd, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Thompson, Bentley, Knowles.
McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Smith, Batchelor, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Smith, Batchelor, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Smith, Batch
Chris Kendall is the official referee.