Wilkin: Good Friday games should set Super League template

St Helens captain Jon Wilkin believes that his team’s derbies with Wigan set a pattern that Super League as a whole should look to folllow.

The traditional Good Friday clash between the two local rivals is characterised by intensity and aggression, and Wilkin believes that replicating that kind of atmopshere at every game would make the sport stronger.

“Every time you play at the DW Stadium, the intensity and atmosphere that the fans create produces a response from the players,” he said.

“It’s not that we want to play in a different way, or we try to play in a different way, but the intensity that the atmosphere creates a response from the players.

“You get that aggression and intensity off the back of that.

“It’s actually something for the league going forward. You look at the best games in Super League, the ones where the attendances are high, crowds are loud, and they always produce the best rugby.

“That intensity of atmosphere is something we need to recreate, because it’s not consistent across the board.

“But Saints – Wigan is every time pretty much nailed on as a classic game, a really good, intense game of rugby league.”

Wilkin acknowledges that the Good Friday derby with Wigan is a personal, as well as a club, highlight of the season for him.

“It’s a massive game,” he said.

“When you get the fixtures at the start of the year, you look forward to Good Friday, and then you look what’s coming before,  and think about building up form before that game.

“The Good Friday fixture has always been a stand-out in my mind for Saints, when I’ve played here.

“It’s the best, most enjoyable game of the year, barring those big games at Wembley and Old Trafford.

“The fans and the crowd make it so special. We go to the DW to expect pretty ferocious support from the Wigan fans, and also our fans down that end of the field.

“We’ll look forward to seeing that.”

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