An ‘emotional’ Shaun Wane toasted Wigan’s best display of the year after they steamroll their way to a 30-10 victory at St Helens.
The win delayed the presentation of the league leaders shield to Saints but, from a selfish perspective, it ensured Wane’s last involvement in an away-day derby was a happy one.
“It was a bit emotional then in the dressing room, when I was speaking to the players,” said Wane.
“I’ve enjoyed coming here, I’ve had some good hidings here and I’ve had some good wins. The myth that I detest Saints is wrong, I respect this club, and I enjoy wins here.
“They threw the gauntlet down, they wanted it to be 3-0 this season and that was a major motivating factor. They’ll get the league leaders, they’re an outstanding team.
“But we didn’t want to be stood there while they get the league leaders, even though they deserve it.”
Dan Sarginson’s first-half double helped Wigan into a 14-4 lead at the break.
And though Saints reeled in their lead to eight points to hint of a tense final quarter, the visitors reasserted their dominance with converted tries by Oliver Gildart and Sean O’Loughlin.
“With the attitude we had to defend, I felt okay,” he said.
“I’m happy with the way we’re playing. Our ball movement was good, the detail in our attack was on - and it carried on when Lockers went off.”
Joe Greenwood, an increasingly imposing threat on the left channel, won Sky Sports’ man of the match.
“There is so much improvement in Joe, it’s frustrating - but he’s getting better every week,” said Wane, who praised his halfbacks and John Bateman, and described Sam Powell’s performance as “immense.”
He expects Sam Tomkins to be fine for next Thursday’s visit of Wakefield after he pulled out minutes before kick-off with a banged knee.
“Sam has trained all week and then in team-run, he whacked knees with Sarge - with it being St Helens week, they were giddy,” said Wane. “So we lost him in warm-up, Morgan (Escare) moved up from the bench and then Ollie (Partington) came into the squad.
“I can’t imagine what it feels like to him, a kid from Orrell, playing in a game like that against a champion team like Saints.”
Wigan have opened up a five-point gap on Castleford, ahead of their game against Catalans.
Saints coach Justin Holbrook said they under-estimated their opponents and felt they were out-played in every area.