Wigan 18 Saints 26

Pat Richards holds off Michael Shenton and (below) Shaun Wane with the League Leaders' Shield

Pat Richards holds off Michael Shenton and (below) Shaun Wane with the League Leaders' Shield

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MIKE McIlorum saw red as St Helens rained on Wigan’s league leaders’ parade in front of 21,000 fans at the DW Stadium.

The Warriors were reduced to 12-men in the first-half when hooker McIlorum was sent off for a high and late tackle on Saints’ Anthony Laffranchi.

Wigan coachShaun Wane shows off the League Leaders' Shield

Wigan coachShaun Wane shows off the League Leaders' Shield

And while Wigan fought on gallantly, two Saints tries in four minutes late in the second-half – one scored by Jonny Lomax, the other created by him - saw the contest slip from their grasp.

The result marked a disappointing end to the Warriors’ regular campaign, and soured the post-game celebrations when Shaun Wane’s men were presented with the league leaders’ shield.

Saints’ victory – their first in four derby meetings this year - lifted them to third in the Super League ladder, and ensured the Cherry and Whites will face either Catalan or Leeds in the opening round of the play-offs next weekend.

Whether they will have McIlorum in their ranks for that match remains to be seen. His red card was his second dismissal this year, and he now faces an anxious wait to see if the RFL slap him with a suspension.

Thomas Leuluai had marked his return to action at the DW Stadium with the opening try, but McIlorum’s sending off interrupted their momentum, allowing Saints to counter with two tries before the break to take a 12-6 lead.

Pat Richards and Sam Tomkins added second-half tries, book-ending efforts for Andrew Dixon, Josh Jones and Lomax.

Before kick-off, one of sport’s greatest rivalries was put aside to support Joining Jack – the charity set up by Andy and Alex Johnson to fund research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Both sides wore special kits, and outside and inside the stadium was a hive of activity as vital funds were raised for the cause.

Pupils of Sacred Heart Primary School sang a special Joining Jack song and a charity mascot, JJ, was announced to the crowd, which included sporting icons Owen Farrell, Bradley Wiggins and ex-Warriors Andy Farrell, Joel Tomkins, Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah and Chris Ashton.