Wigan Warriors 10 St Helens 36

Wigan plunged to joint-bottom of the Super League table after being blown away by Saints in the Good Friday derby.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 6:31 pm
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 9:04 pm
Zak Hardaker goes over for a try against St Helens

And the game came at a huge cost for Adrian Lam, with winger Tom Davies suffering a nasty broken leg in the first-half and Jake Shorrocks stretchered off moments before the final-whistle.

The Warriors have had bright moments in defeat this season - but against the leaders, those positives were scant.

Far too often they were disorganised, they conceded far too many penalties and were outplayed by their opponents across the park.

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Saints, in-sync and sharp, were good value for the victory - but they were helped all the way by a defence which crumbled far too easily under the April sun.

Yes, Wigan had absentees and yes, some of those who returned were under-done - but the line-up they had out should still have performed better than they did.

In front of a 22,050 crowd, George Williams' fine try just before half-time cut the deficit to 18-10 and gave the Warriors hope.

But Saints pulled away in the second-half with three unanswered tries as Welsh winger Regan Grace completed his hat-trick.

This was Wigan's third loss in succession and with Leeds beating Huddersfield 38-18, it sent them joint-bottom of the ladder and puts a sharp focus on Monday's trip to Salford - who pulled off a shock victory at Warrington.

In victory, Justin Holbrook's side became the first side to register a 'double' in Super League against Wigan this season following their opening day win.

By the end, the Saints fans were chanting, 'Easy, easy, easy'... they were, sadly, spot on.

Sean O'Loughlin returned to the side - to make a record-extending 47th derby appearance - along with Ben Flower, Zak Hardaker and Joe Greenwood.

But teenager Morgan Smithies was handed a start in the second-row and played 80 minutes, while the loss of Dan Sarginson to a leg strain gave centre Chris Hankinson his fourth appearance of his Wigan career, and second against Saints.

Three early pens and several surging drives from Luke Thompson allowed Saints to press their dominance from the start and, in the sixth minute, James Roby ducked over from dummy-half.

Lachlan Coote's conversion made it 6-0.

But Wigan replied five minutes later, a left-to-right move sending Hardaker - arguably one of the Warriors' best - through a hole where Mark Percival would have been defending had he not left the action moments earlier with a leg injury.

The full-back missed the conversion, but more than made amends with a fabulous try-saving tackle on a charging Thompson minutes later.

Midway through the first-half, Davies was stretchered off after suffering a sickening broken leg.

In the reshuffle, Hankinson moved to the wing and Willie Isa to centre.

Grace crossed for his opening try after Shorrocks missed a tackle on ex-Orrell St James amateur Jonny Lomax in the build-up.

And with Wigan frequently pinged by James Child, Lachlan Coote struck a penalty to open up a 12-4 lead.

Thompson, a former school-mate of Joe Burgess and Oliver Gildart, underlined his burgeoning credentials when he burst through the middle to set the platform for Grace's second try.

Coote's goal opened up a 14-point gap but the Warriors clutched a lifeline when Gildart defused a kick and carved open Saints' right side to send the supporting Williams under the sticks.

They conjured other chances, too, but Isa found touch with a pass and Taulima Tautai later spilled a ball from close range.

Saints, by contrast, were much more composed and clinical, Tommy Makinson puncturing Wigan's early resolve in the second-half to make it 22-10.

And as the Warriors faded, Grace and Coote crossed for tries to secure an emphatic derby win.

Saints finished the match with 12-men when Dominic Peyroux was sinbinned for a challenge on Shorrocks which saw him stretchered off. He was taken to hospital for a scan on a neck injury.

Wigan: Hardaker; Davies, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Shorrocks; Flower, Leuluai, Navarrete, Isa, Smithies, Partington. Subs: O'Loughlin, Bullock, Tautai, Greenwood

St Helens: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles. Subs: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Smith, Leeds

Referee: James Child

Attendance: 22,050

Half-time: 10-18

Warriors starman: Zak Hardaker