Wigan Warriors V St Helens: Darrell Goulding discusses what makes the Good Friday Derby so special to both players and fans
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The Ex-Warriors centre is looking forward to seeing the “iconic” game back at the DW Stadium for the first time since 2019, with a crowd of over 23,000 expected.
Goulding states anyone who has grown up in the town knows exactly what the occasion means.
“Being a local lad, the Good Friday games have always been historic fixtures,” he said.
“It’s the one everyone looks out for each year.
“When you grow up in the town, fans are always talking about it, it has always been such a big thing.
“Now the Easter period has calmed down a little bit, there’s probably even more focus on this fixture.
“Looking at the crowd we’re expecting, it seems like everyone is behind the team.
“It feels like a massive game again, and the last few years have probably had an effect on that because everyone will be desperate to get that fix again during the holiday period.
“Everyone has memories of these games, and for the players these are the ones that stand out.
“You can almost make a reputation off a Good Friday performance because it’s such an iconic thing.
“Form goes out the window, it’s just a case of it being the biggest rivalry.
“It's a unique situation this year where you’ve got Matty (Peet) and Wello (Paul Wellens) who are both local lads, along with some of the players.
“It will be a tough game, and bragging rights are on the line.
“Nothing would surprise me with this one; the only thing guaranteed is- it’ll be physical and it’ll be fast.”
Goulding has enjoyed the Good Friday Derby as both a player and a spectator.
“No game in particular stands out to me from when I was young, it was just the fact that it was Good Friday,” he added.
“I went to St Edmund Arrowsmith, so half my year group were Wigan fans and the other half were St Helens.
“It was always a big thing building up to the occasion, and it was about bragging rights depending on how the performance went.
“That always sticks into my head, and it just matters to everyone in the town.
“There’s not too many fixtures that are like that.
“Even people who are not that much into rugby almost jump onto the back of the fixture because it means so much.
“Most people end up watching the game, whether that’s in the stadium or on TV.
“In terms of playing on Good Friday, the last one at Knowsley Road and the first one at Langtree Park stick out more than any others, just because they were iconic fixtures.”
During his playing career, Goulding also experienced the derby between Hull KR and Hull FC.
“That’s a big one as well,” he stated.
“They’re both massive, but there’s a strange difference between the two.
“Between Wigan and St Helens there is respect, and it’s a friendly rivalry, but in Hull there is a bit more hatred between the two clubs.”