Wigan dictate St Helens in Super 8s battle

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Wigan went five points clear in second as they put in a dominating display to crush rivals St Helens.

Justin Holbrook made two changes to his St Helens side that beat Wakefield Trinity two weeks ago. Luke Thompson and Ryan Morgan replaced Theo Fages and Matty Costello.

Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane also made two changes to his team that beat Catalans Dragons last time out. Sean O’Loughlin and Oliver Gildart came in for Sam Tomkins and Liam Marshall.

The Cherry and Whites scored from a magnificent try in the opening stages. A Joe Greenwood offload sent Morgan Escare free who assisted the supporting Dan Sarginson.

St Helens and Wigan both had efforts chalked off by the video referee in the first quarter. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Sam Powell the players who were denied.

The Warriors scored from another fine breakaway try on the half hour mark. Sarginson got his second following a quick break from Greenwood. Wigan led 8-0.

Wigan were on top form in the first half and their style of rugby was pleasing to watch. England star John Bateman shrugged off four defenders to score. George Williams took over kicking duties and converted his first attempt.

Saints pulled one back on the verge of the half-time hooter sounding though. Tommy Makinson rose above makeshift winger Gildart to collect Danny Richardson’s kick and touch down. Richardson failed to convert and Wigan were 14-4 to the good at half-time.

Wane’s men scored in the first set of the second half. Tom Davies somehow managed to get the ball down, despite Ben Barba and Mark Percival trying to bundle him into touch.

St Helens stuck in the game though and fought back once more. McCarthy-Scarsbrook produced a fine offload to Makinson who got his second.

Gildart made up for his earlier error with an outstanding solo try. He made a flying break down the left to step Barba and coast over. Williams’ conversion took the score to 24-10.

Wigan all but sealed the win 10 minutes from time. They were playing some incredible rugby which Saints were really struggling to deal with. O’Loughlin crashed over the line from close range. Williams added the extras and Wigan ran-out 30-10 winners.

The Warriors are now six points behind league leaders St Helens but are five points ahead of fourth and fifth placed Warrington Wolves and Castleford Tigers.

St Helens: Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Douglas, Roby, Thompson, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Taia, Knowles. Subs: Amor, Wilkin, Lees, Ashworth.

Wigan: Escare; Davies, Isa, Sarginson, Gildart; Williams, Leuluai; Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, O’Loughlin. Subs: Clubb, Sutton, Hamlin, Partington.

Starman: Joe Greenwood had his best game yet for Wigan. He made a couple of line breaks and was brutal in defence.

Attendance: 14,061

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