Super League: Wigan Warriors 29-18 St Helens
|Betfred Super League|
|Wigan (8) 29|
|Try: Burgess 2, Marshall 2, Farrell Goals: Escare 4 Drop-goal: Escare|
|St Helens (2) 18|
|Try: Knowles, Grace, Makinson Goals: Percival 3|
Wigan claimed a thrilling Good Friday derby Super League win over St Helens, who played for 67 minutes with 12 men.
The game was scoreless when Kyle Amor was sent off for a high tackle on Liam Marshall, before Mark Percival kicked Saints in front.
Joe Burgess' try gave Wigan a half-time lead only for Morgan Knowles to level.
But two tries from Marshall, another from Liam Farrell and Burgess' second eased Wigan clear despite replies from Regan Grace and Tommy Makinson.
In a typically full-blooded derby between the old rivals, the dismissal of Amor was a significant talking and turning point.
At first sight his tackle appeared high and referee Ben Thaler had no hesitation in pulling out the red card. But television replays suggested the tackle was chest high until Amor's arm bounced up off the ball.
Saints defended resolutely despite their numerical disadvantage and were very much in the game at 15-12 when debutant Grace, whose initial break set up Knowles' try, capped another stunning Saints move in the corner.
But Wigan replied immediately through Farrell before Marshall dived in brilliantly at the corner and Burgess seized on George Williams' delightful kick through to put the result beyond doubt.
Makinson gave Saints hope of a late comeback with his side's third try, but Warriors saw it through to the hooter to claim local bragging rights.
Wigan head coach Shaun Wane: "I'm not really bothered how we play in a game like that, we just wanted to get two points. Lots of credit needs to go to St Helens, who had a real dig at us.
"I thought we could have been a bit smarter but we scored some good tries. I thought Liam Farrell and Lockers (Sean O'Loughlin) were good.
"Michael McIlorum asked to come off 12 minutes into the second half, which is not like him, and he wanted to go back on at the end but my physio would have killed me. I had to over-rule here to play him. His return was one of the biggest positives."
St Helens interim coach Jamahl Lolesi: "It just wasn't a red card. Ben Thaler didn't lose us the game - he didn't miss the tackles or pass the balls - but what I thought was really poor was that the video ref is there to make calls on foul play.
"When you are an official, take the emotion out of it, take the crowd out of it and make the right decision, especially in a derby game. I just don't understand why you don't do that. I can't figure it out. What's most important is making the right decision, whether it's a red or whether it's a yellow, make the right one. Today it was the wrong one.
"We didn't get lots of other calls throughout the game. I didn't think the officiating was great and I thought it affected what was going to be a great game. I feel sorry for the fans that paid to come and watch a 13 v 13 derby, they got short-changed as well as us."
Wigan: Escare, Davies, Gelling, Burgess, Marshall, Williams, Leuluai, Nuuausala, Powell, Flower, J. Tomkins, Farrell, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: Tautai, Sutton, Isa, McIlorum.
St Helens: Makinson, Grace, Percival, Morgan, Swift, Fages, Smith, Amor, Lee, Douglas, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Replacements: Walmsley, Thompson, Richards, Knowles.
Sent-off: Amor (13)
Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL)