Wane hails Warriors’ derby desire

Willie Isa was sinbinned for this shove on Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Willie Isa was sinbinned for this shove on Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook

Shaun Wane hailed the tenacity of his side as they kept their play-offs hopes alive with a stunning 26-16 win at St Helens.

The Warriors headed into the derby knowing defeat would probably rule them out of the running for a top-four finish.

But a whirlwind opening helped put them 14-4 ahead and, after opening up a 20-point margin in a tense second-half, they had the spirit to hang on for the victory.

The win was even more impressive given it came just six days after their Wembley heartache, and Wane later revealed many of the players - including absent prop Ryan Sutton - had suffered from a sickness bug.

Wane said: “It’s a great place to get a win.

“We were under a fair bit of pressure, but we showed some toughness and I’ve just told the players I admire what they’ve done. Overall we were very good, to show the desire against a side who had everything going for them.

“They’ve had a weekend off, they’ve got a great NRL player in Ben Barba on debut and they’re a great team - they have real talent.

“And I can say it now we’ve won, we’ve had an illness in the camp so, on the back of that, it’s even more impressive.”

Captain Sean O’Loughlin was only rested midway through the second-half, and after a just a few minutes on the sidelines he was recalled to steer Wigan home.

“He was fantastic, outstanding,” said Wane, who also hailed Sam Tomkins.

Debutant Barba scored Saints’ only first-half try, which was awarded by the video referee and had echoes of the ‘no try’ decision handed to Tony Clubb at Wembley.

Wane says he would back a return to the match referee sending a decision to the extra official without having to make an on-field call first.

“I’m okay, if a ref doesn’t know, just say - just send it up and say he hadn’t seen it,” added Wane, who takes his side to Hull FC next Friday.

“I’m just glad that one didn’t cost us.”

Saints coach Justin Holbrook admitted the loss was a blow to their top-four hopes.

“We needed to win tonight and didn’t, and we’re now relying on other teams,” he added. “All we can do is worry about next week, so it’s must-win again.”