Despite the loss of Sam Tomkins in the warm-up, Wigan spoiled Saints party as they denied them the League Leaders Shield in this classic Saints – Wigan derby fixture.
Dan Sarginson was the first try-scorer of the night as Wigan looked took control in just their second set. Joe Greenwood ran a hard line before offloading to Tomkins replacement Morgan Escare, who broke through the Saints line and passed to Sarginson who finished off the free-slowing move. Escare failed to convert as the Warriors took an early 0-4 lead.
Despite having to defend 18 consecutive tackles towards the end of the first 10 minutes, Saints survived and began to build momentum of their own through Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook but the try was turned down by the TMO for obstruction.
Chris Kendall then went to the TMO again, this time for Wigan, and exactly like the Saints, the Warriors were denied by a knock-on as the game started to turn into another Saints-Wigan classic.
The game, although physical, was free-flowing, shown by Escare, who managed to collect the ball on his own 10 metre line and break to the half-way with his quick dancing feet. However, due to the crowds dismay, Kendall had to stop play due to Ryan Morgans head injury.
This was repeated by Saints Full-back Ben Barba who picked the ball up on a free play and broke 50 metres, to set Saints up nicely for a near-perfect attacking set but Richardson’s kick was snuffed out by Sarginson.
Despite the scoreline still 0-4 to Wigan, the first half an hour was absolutely outstanding, and both teams were looking to be the next to score a try in this classic.
After a poor Ben Barba pass let Wigan off the hook, the Warriors went straight up the other end of the field to stretch their lead.
Joe Greenwood was again in the thick of the action as he broke through a huge gap in the Saints line, passing to Oliver Gildart, who then offloaded to Dan Sarginson who scored his second of the night. Escare again missed the conversion to make the score Saints 0-8 Wigan.
Wigan scored again before the half-time hooter after forcing a fourth goal-line drop out of the night. Ryan Sutton and Gabriel Hamlin set the Warriors platform with two barnstorming carries and then John Bateman had one of his own to score the 50th try of his career to make it 0-12 to Warriors. George Williams slotted the conversion attempt to make it a 14-point lead with 2 minutes until half-time.
St. Helens did not want to be denied in the first 40 however, as right on the half-time hooter, Tommy Makinson collected a high Danny Richardson kick to dive down into the right hand edge for another high-flying finish for the winger.
Danny Richardson missed the conversion attempt to leave the half-time score St. Helens 4-14 Wigan Warriors.
The fans inside the Totally Wicked Stadium had enjoyed a thrilling opening half and were looking forward to fantastic second 40 minutes.
It was Wigan who again opened the scoring through Tom Davies, after Joe Greenwood offloaded the ball on the left hand edge, the Warriors shifted the ball all the way across to the right and Davies, stretched over the line to make in 4-18. Williams missed his conversion attempt.
Saints weren’t going to give up lightly though, and Louis McCarty-Scarsbrook, who had shifted into the centre after Ryan Morgans head knock, unveiled his inner Sonny-Bill Williams as he drew in three Wigan defenders to offload into Makinson’s hand who dotted down in the corner, for his, and Saints, second try of the night. Richardson landed the conversion and closed the gap to eight points.
With 20 minutes to go, Saints were starting to gain control of the match but their hands were letting them down, both on the edges and in the centre of the field.
These hands were to Saints detriment and Wigan made them pay for their sloppiness. Joe Greenwood once again created the try, as he drew in Tommy Makinson to release Oliver Gildart who stepped past Ben Barba to slide in for Wigan. Williams added the extras to make it Saints 10-24 Wigan with 15 intense minutes remaining.
Sean O’Loughlin wrapped up the victory for the Warriors with his first try of the season. He collected a short little pop pass from the Sam Powell at dummy-half and crashed through the Saints line. George Williams added the extras to give Wigan a 20-point lead with 9 minutes remaining.
The large Saints subs bench meant that nobody could come onto the field and inject a spark into the Saints that they truly needed and their heads were dropping with every mistake.
Wigan were solid in defence from here-on-out and completed all their sets in the final five minutes as they closed the game out.
The Warriors were just too strong and too fast for Saints as they ruined Saints party and denied them the League Leaders shield in this absolute classic under the Friday Night Lights.
Full Time: St. Helens 10-30 Wigan Warriors.
Sky Man of the Match: Joe Greenwood – From the word go, the former Saint showed them what they were missing as he ran riot down the right hand edge to create three tries for the Warriors and also had a huge shift in defence.
My Man of the Match: Dan Sarginson – The centre was in big try-scoring form, as he picked up a brace for the Saints. He was solid in defence just like the entire Warriors side.
Barba, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson, Douglas, Roby, Thompson, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Taia, Knowles.
Subs: Amor, Wilkin, Lees, Ashworth
Tries: Makinson (2)
Goals: Richardson (1/2)
Escare, Davies, Isa, Sarginson, Gildart, Williams, Leuluai, Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, O’Loughlin.
Subs: Clubb, Sutton, Hamlin, Partington
Tries: Sarginson (2), Bateman, Davies, Gildart, O’Loughlin
Goals: Williams (3/4)