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It was top against second in game of the weekend in the Super League Super Eights as the Wigan Warriors visited the Totally Wicked Stadium with the hopes and intentions of denying St Helens the opportunity to lift the Minor Premiership title against their oldest rivals.

Saints have emerged victors from both previous meetings in 2018, but on both occasions the margin was narrow. The last meeting was six weeks ago at the DW Stadium when Saints won by 14-6 thanks to tries from Peyroux and Knowles with Richardson kicking three from three goal attempts.

A Saints victory tonight would seal top spot and the post warm-up withdrawal of Sam Tomkins, due to a training injury, was not the ideal preparation for Wigan.

Wigan got the dream start after a forty metre Morgan Escare break saw him find Dan Sarginson in support to take the ball on the inside and go ten metres to score. Escare slid the ball in front of the sticks, unable to add the extras.

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook had an eleventh minute try ruled out for an obstruction and two minutes later Sam Powell was also denied for a knock-on.

As the half wore on it was turning into  a blood and thunder encounter played at breakneck speed. There were injuries aplenty and blood on almost every shirt, if this was a dead-rubber then no-one had told the players.

A team try on thirty-one ended with Sarginson dropping over the line to double the Warriors lead after a Joe Greenwood break and pass to Gildart who jinked inside and found his centre to score. Escare missed the extras again, from an almost identical spot as his first.

Wigans third came on thirty-seven, this time it was John Bateman who pushed off two defenders before dipping under the Saints defence to ground, on the line under the sticks. This time George Williams added the conversion and it seemed like the perfect half for the visitors with a 14-0 lead.

Right on the half-time hooter, a wide kick to the corner from Danny Richardson found a leapping Tommy Makinson who collected the ball on the line, spun past the tackler, and grounded over the line. Richardson was unable to add the extras for a 4-14 half time score.

After the blip at the end of the first half it took just a minute for normal service to be resumed when Tom Davies was in position to take the last pass of a left to right move, step between the two Saints defenders, and ground the ball one-handed. Williams was unable to add the extras from wide. A nightmare start to the half for the home side.

On fifty minutes a devastating ball from McCarthy-Scarsbrook put Makinson in for his second when he flipped the ball backwards after drawing in the two Wigan defenders to give his winger a clear run to the line. Richardson kicked brilliantly from the touchline to get his side within eight of their opponents.

On sixty-three Oliver Gildart turned Ben Barba inside out as he broke for forty metres, wrong footing the Saints full back to dive over for Wigans fifth try. Williams added the conversion for a 24-10 lead.

Ten minutes from time Sean O’Loughlin went three metres from first receiver after taking a short ball to stoop for the line and score. Williams added the conversion to bring up the thirty.

This was a complete performance from the Warriors who make Saints look second rate on the night when they were destined to seal the league leaders trophy. Sean Wane celebrated like he’d won a trophy himself but that could have been the pride that his side had displayed, and the knowledge that should the sides meet again at Old Trafford then it would be Wigan who would carry the momentum. 

Saints will have to wait at least another week for their silverware, but are still massive favourites to achieve it.

Saints: Barba, Makinson (2T), Morgan, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson (G), Douglas, Roby, Thompson, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Taia, Knowles.  Subs: Amor, Wilkin, Lees, Ashworth.

Warriors: Escare, Davies (T), Isa, Sarginson (2T), Gildart (T), Williams (3G), Leuluai, Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman (T), O’Loughlin (T).  Subs: Hamlin, Partington, Sutton, Clubb.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Half-Time: 4-14.

Full-Time: 10-30.

Attendance: .

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