Match review: Wigan Warriors take on Saints in Good Friday clash

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Wigan triumphed in the Good Friday derby.

It’s not often Saints find themselves on the wrong end of a scoreline, leaving new head coach, Paul Wellens, with one or two pressing problems to solve.

Three defeats in the first seven matches of the Betfred Super League is something of a rarity - the latest setback coming at the hands of deadly rivals Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium on Good Friday.

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No one can claim with any justification that the Cherry and Whites didn’t deserve their no-holds-barred 14-6 derby victory in front of a record 24,275-strong crowd and gave the defending champions an early season warning they were after their crown.

The hosts controlled a major part of an exhausting 80 minutes, played in temperatures higher than normal and also won the tactical battle. Possession-wise, there was little to choose between the two protagonists but Matty Peet’s boys executed the few chances which came their way with ruthless efficiency while Saints couldn’t capitalise fully on the opportunities they created.

What has been said: “It’s disappointing more so than anything else. We’ve come here and not won a big game and we know how huge these are for our supporters”, Wellens said.

The head coach added: “We just came up short today, but one thing I will say is I can’t fault our players’ attitude and effort which was there in abundance. Unfortunately, we came up just short. Not taking the opportunities when they presented themselves was also an issue. We shelled a couple against Wakefield Trinity last week but big games like this are littered with little moments and Wigan won a few today.”

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And things will not be much easier this coming Friday when St Helens make the long trip to Hull KR who nilled their Humberside rivals Hull FC at the MKM Stadium yesterday and moved into fourth spot in the table.

The champions are also set to take on the Robins without the services of Sione Mata’utia, who was carried off on a stretcher suffering from a sickening second half injury at Wigan - which delayed the match for more than five minutes as he underwent medical treatment on the field after initially losing consciousness. He eventually came round, much to the relief of everyone in the stadium.

Teams -

Wigan: Bevan French, Abbas Miski, Toby King, Jake Wardle, Liam Marshall, Joe Shorrock, Harry Smith, Liam Byrne, Sam Powell, Mike Cooper, Kai Pearce-Paul, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies.

Interchanges: Brad Singleton, Kaide Ellis, Ethan Havard, Brad O’Neill.

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Tries: Smith (10), King (52). Conversions: Smith (11 and 53). Penalty: Smith (31)

Saints: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Mark Percival, Will Hopoate, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Agnatius Passi, James Roby, Matty Lees, Sione Mata’utia, Curtis Sironen, Morgan Knowles.

Interchanges: Joey Lussick, Louie MCarthy-Scarsbrook, James Bell, George Delaney.

Tries: Lomax (61). Conversion Percival (62)

Score: Half-time 8-0. Full-time 14-6.

Attendance:24,275.

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