Super League: Wigan Warriors 2-26 St Helens – Saints coast to highly charged derby win

Wigan Warriors and St Helens players confront each other during Friday's game
Wigan and St Helens both had players sent to the bin in a tense fixture, with Saints pulling off their second win of the season against the Cherry and Whites
Wigan (2) 2
Goal: Smith
St Helens (12) 26
Tries: Grace, Dodd, Percival, Walmsley Goals: Coote 4, Dodd

St Helens coasted to a derby win over Wigan Warriors in a highly charged Super League fixture at the DW Stadium.

Regan Grace got Saints’ first try while Lewis Dodd extended their lead when he stole the ball before going over.

Mark Percival capitalised on Wigan losing Willie Isa to the bin as he ran through to send Saints 16 points ahead.

Harry Smith scored Wigan’s only points with his first-half penalty goal, with Alex Walmsley adding a late emphatic try to wrap it up for Saints.

St Helens, who beat Wigan in a memorable Super League Grand Final last season, have now also pulled off the double over Wigan this term, having already beaten them 26-6 at home in July.

Wigan suffered a nightmare start when Liam Marshall came off worse in the first tackle of the game and was forced off for a head injury assessment.

Grace, who scored on his Super League debut in this fixture in 2017, ran in a trademark try in the corner to get Saints off the mark.

Both sides had players sent to the bin after 15 minutes when James Bentley and John Bateman saw yellow following an altercation after Saints gave away a penalty – and that was a sign of things to come.

In a heated derby with a vociferous 16,000 crowd in attendance, Jackson Hastings was lucky not to be punished for grabbing Saints’ Lachlan Coote by the neck and bringing him down just before he was able to go over for what would have been the visitors’ third try of the night.

Soon after, Bentley caught Marshall high with a tackle as tensions ran high, while Bateman was later sin-binned for a second time, this time for dissent.

Just before the hour mark, Isa was put on report for a strong off-the-ball tackle on Jack Welsby and, just as Bateman returned, Isa was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

It was a night to forget for Wigan, as they rarely threatened their opponents when in possession, as they failed to score a try at home for the first time since moving to the DW Stadium in 1999.

Wigan Warriors boss Adrian Lam:

“It was a tough game. We didn’t get the start we wanted and the second try hurt us. The second half was just a nightmare. I think the penalty count was 9-1 against us and we played half the second half with 12 players.

“I’m disappointed with our discipline. I love emotion but you’ve got to have intelligence with that. I thought we overplayed our hand with that and it came back to hurt us.

“We attacked poorly and didn’t manage the process. Every little thing we tried, we were frustrated, it was nothing like how we trained.

“I’ve got belief in them. I know tonight was a real disappointment but I have confidence in the group that we’ll rally and get it right over the next couple of weeks. I know they feel positive about what we can do moving forward.”

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf:

“It was exactly the response [to losing to Castleford] we wanted. We didn’t play to our standards last week but I was really happy and proud of the way we turned up tonight.

“Right from the kick-off we started with terrific intensity and showed really good discipline.

“It’s tough in those situations. Rugby league has an element of aggression and there is always a bit of a fine line.

“The atmosphere was outstanding and that creates a bit of tension, but I thought our blokes handled themselves really well.”

Wigan: Hardaker, Bibby, Isa, Gildart, Marshall, Hastings, Smith, Havard, Shorrocks, Partington, Farrell, Pearce-Paul, Smithies.

Interchanges: Bateman, Bourouh, Bullock, Byrne.

St Helens: Coote, Naiqama, Welsby, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Dodd, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Thompson, Bentley, Knowles.

Interchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Smith, Batchelor.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

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