Super League: St Helens 6-18 Wigan Warriors

By Andrew AloiaBBC Sport
Wigan's Tommy Leuluai scores a try
Thomas Leuluai's second-half try put Wigan ahead for the first time against St Helens
Betfred Super League
St Helens (6) 6
Tries: Coote Goals: Coote
Wigan Warriors (4) 18
Tries: Bibby, Leuluai, French, Hastings Goal: Hardaker

Wigan replaced St Helens at the top of Super League with a stunning derby win at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Lachlan Coote converted his own try to give Saints a 6-4 lead at the end of a tense first half, with Jake Bibby hitting back for Wigan.

Second-half tries from Thomas Leuluai, Bevan French and Jackson Hastings sealed the gutsy win for the visitors.

Wigan eventually finished a man down with Joe Greenwood shown a yellow card for his high hit on Matty Lees.

Wigan's 12th win from 16 games moved them to the summit on points percentage, with Saints slipping to second after suffering their fifth defeat in 17 games this term.

Captain James Roby, full-back Coote and half-back Jonny Lomax were among seven influential senior figures brought back into the squad by St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf after a 10-game winning run in Super League was ended by Salford on Monday.

While Wigan were without talismanic captain Sean O'Loughlin because of a hamstring injury, Cherry and Whites boss Adrian Lam turned back to his established stars for the derby after opting to rest the majority of his first team in a heavy 42-0 defeat when they last met in September.

After 30 high-quality minutes of relentless toil from both sides failed to produce a point, Lomax - with his left leg bandaged after suffering a first-half injury - broke Wigan's resistance to set Coote up for the game's first points.

Four minutes later Bibby beat Lomax to a grubber kick from Zak Hardaker to respond.

So brutal was the first-half exertions at Totally Wicked Stadium that even referee Chris Kendall was momentarily floored when Saints' soon-to-be-retired prop James Graham inadvertently ran into him.

It took Leuluai bursting through five attempted tackles close to the line to put Wigan ahead for the first time after the break, with French then racing away soon after for their third score.

Wigan continued to crash forward with merciless intent against a Saints side that could not match them for intensity as the game wore on.

Hastings eventually came up with their fourth try, doing well to collect a low, but brilliantly flicked pass from Greenwood to score. The forward however, failed to see out the game after his dangerous hit on Lees late on.

St Helens: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Welsby, Grace; Fages, Lomax; Graham, Roby, Lees, Taia, Bentley, Knowles.

Replacements: Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Paulo.

Wigan Warriors: French; Bibby, Hardaker, Gildart, J Burgess; Hastings, Leuluai; Bullock, Powell, Singleton, Farrell, Isa, Partington.

Replacements: Clubb, Flower, Greenwood, Smithies.

Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).

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