SAM Tomkins labelled yesterday’s thrilling derby victory over St Helens as “like a Grand Final”.
A nail-biting match was settled when Liam Farrell’s last-minute try grabbed the Warriors a 28-24 victory – when they appeared to be heading to defeat.
Full-back Tomkins said: “That was unbelievable.
“It’s the biggest derby in our sport, and to win it like that was great.
“Saints had a good team out, and all credit to them, they pushed us right until the end. We were fully expecting it to go to the last minute.
“There are a lot of lads in this team who grew up watching these games, and it meant so much to us.
“It felt like a Grand Final, not just the game, but all week. Fans have been stopping me all week, talking about the match, and I’m made up for the fans because they deserved it.
“The fans were great throughout the match – both ours and St Helens’ – and it definitely had a Grand Final-feel to it.”
Wigan were 10-0 down early on, but two tries each by Josh Charnley and Pat Richards helped them to a 22-10 lead midway through the second-half.
Saints responded with two tries to take a slender 24-22 lead and set up a tense finale – only for Farrell to have the final say in the last minute.
The result preserved coach Michael Maguire’s good record against Wigan’s arch-rivals, having lost just one of his five encounters.
He added: “It was credit to the boys that they came back and went for the full 80 and it was a good performance right across the board.
“At half-time, the players themselves knew what we had to do and when they went back to what they’d practiced they showed what they could do.
“The boys showed a lot of hunger and it was great to see.”
Saints boss Royce Simmons said “rugby league was the winner”.
Warriors travel to Wakefield in two days’ time and Maguire said he had no major injury concerns.
l EX-Wigan centre Martin Gleeson scored a try on his Hull FC debut yesterday to help his side to a 36-18 victory over Hull KR.
l WIGAN’S Under-20s face St Helens at Orrell’s Cooperative Community Stadium today, kick-off 2pm.
l WARRIORS are close to finalising details of another fans’ forum, allowing supporters to quiz chairman Ian Lenagan about the club’s future.