Wigan Warriors: Five things we learned from the derby victory over St Helens
Amos Wynn reflects on the key talking points from Wigan Warriors’ derby victory over St Helens.
1. A superb defensive effort
The defensive work from Matty Peet’s side on Friday night was fantastic.
Saints pushed the Warriors defensive line hard, but for the majority of the time they remained firm.
They worked together as a unit, and refused to give up in any situation.
As soon as the visitors got close to the line, several bodies in cherry and white would appear to stop them.
To perform like that in a derby game is nothing short of special.
The victory secured second place, meaning a week off in the play-offs and a home semi-final, but the most important thing will be the momentum it creates.
2. Making the most of attacking opportunities
While Wigan were strong in defence, they also made the most of their opportunities in attack.St Helens started off well, forcing Peet’s side to soak in a lot of pressure, but when they found a foothold in the first half, they made their chances count.
The Liam Farrell try stood out most, as he produced some magic to shrug off multiple challenges to find his way to the line.
Meanwhile, in the second half attacking moments were much more scarce, but when they did come the Warriors were ready.
Of course Bevan French was involved throughout the evening, as he claimed a brace, scoring the first and last tries of the game.
3. Wigan never gave up
Liam Marshall’s try summed up the Warriors attitude on Friday evening.
They just never gave up at any point.
The winger had produced a try-saving moment in the first half, using his leg to stop the ball from being grounded, while in the second he extended Wigan’s lead against the run of play.
After getting the ball on the left side, he just didn’t stop until he was across the line.
St Helens tried multiple times to halt him, and even got him down at one point, but it wasn’t enough, as he scrambled over.
It was another great night for Marshall, who has certainly enjoyed one of his best season’s in cherry and white.
4. A moment of derby passion or overstepping the mark?
In the first half there was a moment where Jack Welsby knocked the ball on.
The reaction of Morgan Smithies and Harry Smith certainly got the fans cheering, as they rubbed the head of the Saints fullback, and didn’t hold back in showing their delight at forcing the error.
After the match, Matty Peet stated it was a step too far.
He said: “I want the lads to defend with passion and intensity, but we felt the lads overstepped the mark in that instance. We’ve spoken about it, and they recognise that, because we want to play with respect for our opposition.”
5. An unbelievable atmosphere
The noise inside the DW Stadium on Friday night was incredible.
There is truly no fixture quite like Wigan V Saints.
Both sets of fans helped to create an unbelievable atmosphere, with those in cherry and white singing until the very end.
The support they gave the team went a long way, and the strong support has been one of the highlights of the entire campaign.