St Helens’ Tommy Makinson magnanimous in victory as winger hails ‘proper Good Friday battle’

Drew Darbyshire
Tommy Makinson St Helens Alamy

Tommy Makinson in action for St Helens in 2024

Tommy Makinson may have scored the match-winning try in St Helens’ win over Wigan – but the winger was quick to praise both sides for making it a Good Friday classic.

Coaches often say that defence wins you games, and that was clear to see on Friday afternoon as both teams put their bodies on the line in front of a sold-out Totally Wicked Stadium.

Wigan led 4-2 after an hour thanks to a superb solo effort from Bevan French – but tries from Makinson and Konrad Hurrell in the last five minutes saw the Saints take the spoils from a pulsating encounter.

Speaking to Love Rugby League after the game, Makinson said: “It was a proper Good Friday battle wasn’t it? We love it, we enjoy it.. It’s what Super League is about isn’t it? The biggest derby around, and it’s a privilege to be involved.

“It was a great game by both sides, it was tough like it should be and we got over the line in the end but we’ve got some big games coming up and we’ll meet Wigan again. It’s a good win for us but we know there are big games down the track.

“I had a couple of weeks out (through injury), nothing major, but it’s good to come back with a try and a big play, that’s what I’m about. You want to be involved in big plays like that but I’ve got great players around me, Lewis Dodd put it on the spot so it was good to get over. It was a special moment, and what an atmosphere, just brilliant.”

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Tommy Makinson: We’ve won the battle, but we’ve not won the war

Wigan went down to 12 men in the 63rd minute after prop Liam Byrne was sent off for a high tackle on Mark Percival, which swung momentum in favour of the Saints.

Makinson said he was always confident Saints would come back into the game and show their mettle in attack – just as they did in defence throughout the 80 minutes.

“I’m always confident, we’ve got too many good players (not to be) and Wigan probably felt the same,” Makinson added.

“That’s the beauty of our sport – they’ve got people like (Jai) Field, French and (Harry) Smith – French came up with a massive play but we’ve got them players as well so it was a battle of attrition for a bit and then players take over and it’s just about nailing it and putting it on the spot like we did – but there’s plenty of more big battles down the line.

“We’ve won the battle, but we’ve not won the war so hopefully there are many more battles to come.

“Wigan have been great, they are a great side and we’ll have many more great battles with them so we won the battle today, but there are many more to come.”

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