Wigan v St Helens: Nathan Brown philosophical ahead of derby

Nathan Brown has played down the significance of St Helens' Super League derby at Wigan Warriors on Friday.

Brown will experience the rivalry as Saints' head coach for the first time.

"When you walk around the town, everyone says that as long as you beat Wigan, that means it's a good year," he told BBC North West Tonight.

"The emotion spills over into the game, the players get up for it and the hype is terrific, but you've got to take it for what it is. It's a two-point game."

The Australian added: "Paul Anderson [Brown's former assistant at Huddersfield, who is now coach of the Giants] first told me how great the derby is.

"He was involved in the Leeds-Bradford one when they were in their prime and he always said the Saints-Wigan one was the biggest of the two, having played in both of them.

Wigan-Saints battles of 2012

Wigan Warriors v St Helens

6 April: St Helens 10-28 Wigan

Wigan score five tries on their first visit to Langtree Park as Saints suffer their first defeat under interim coach Mike Rush

12 May: Wigan 18-4 St Helens

Wigan, the Challenge Cup holders, book a place in the last four of the competition, with Brett Finch's individual score the key moment

27 May: St Helens 16-42 Wigan

Sam Tomkins scores one of the tries of the season as Wigan dominate their Magic Weekend meeting, although the match is marred by a 26-man brawl that sees Wigan duo Gareth Hock and Chris Tuson, plus Saints forward Shaun Magennis, all shown red cards

7 September: Wigan 18-26 St Helens

Saints secure third place in Super League with a five-try success against League Leaders' Shield winners Wigan, who lose hooker Michael McIlorum for the play-offs following his red card for a late hit on Anthony Laffranchi

"For me personally, the game's not about the coach or even a local rivalry. It's just a competition game at the end of the day.

"If you win, you get two points. You don't win a Challenge Cup final or a Grand Final. You win some bragging rights until you play the side the next time."

Wigan won three of the four fixtures between the sides in 2012 - games which also included a total of four red cards.

Three of the dismissals came as a result of a 26-man brawl in the Magic Weekend meeting in May.

Wigan comfortably won at the Etihad Stadium, as well as emerging victorious from their first visit to Langtree Park a month earlier and also knocking Saints out of the Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage.

St Helens, then under the stewardship of Mike Rush, won 26-18 at the DW Stadium in the final match of the regular season, although they were helped by the early sending-off of Warriors hooker Michael McIlorum.

Saints, who are in their first season under Brown, will go to the DW Stadium on Friday looking for a fourth straight win.

And they have recovered from a slow start to the season without a number of key players because of injury.

The losses of James Roby, Paul Wellens, Josh Perry and Lance Hohaia at various stages have led Brown to blood a number of youngsters in the club's first eight matches.

"We've already used 28 players this year, which is more than anybody else in the competition, and we're a point off the top team," he said.

"Would we like to be playing a little better? Maybe. But are we happy with what we've achieved so far? We think we're going OK."