St Helens 20-18 Wigan Warriors: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

What a game! One of the all time great Magic Weekend matches filled with moments of brilliance one of which would decide the game.

Saints now move a step closer to the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time since 2019 but Wigan have proven they’re more than a threat to the Saints in the race for Old Trafford. I can’t wait for the next chapter in this rivalry.

Highlights:

Willie Isa sums up Wigan defensive effort
The opening quarter of this game was all St Helens as they bossed proceedings and built huge pressure. Wigan hardly got a look at Saints half let alone their tryline. This meant a huge defensive effort was required to deny the Champions which Wigan produced summed up by a superb try saving tackle from Willie Isa to deny Regan Grace just short of the line.

Field and French combined notch opening try
After absorbing all that pressure, Wigan showed the Champions that they only need one chance to score because of a certain pair of players. The exhilarating Jai Field and Bevan French combined down the right with Field out the back and French sailing down the wing to give the Warriors the lead.

A magic try for a magic day
These games often require pieces of quality to get the score board ticking such is the quality of the defence on show and Wigan again showed they have that with a sweeping move inside their own half which released Bevan French who then chipped the ball back inside for John Bateman to score one of the all-time great Magic Weekend tries.

Innovation from Lomax gets Saints back in it
When he retires, Jonny Lomax will be remembered as one of the greatest Super League stars of all time and his ability to conjure something from nothing today is one of the reasons why. The halfback went down the blind side when nothing seemed on and set up Joe Batchelor for a key try with the second row kicking ahead and grounding it despite attention from Jai Field.

French inches away from denying Jack Welsby
Jack Welsby must haunt Wigan fans’ nightmares and that of Bevan French. After an error, Welsby scooped up the ball and broke down the left. French chased him back and looked to have done enough to produce a remarkable try saving tackle but Welsby was able to bounce off French’s body and ground the ball.

Jai Field shows why he’s Super League’s current super man
What a try! Jai Field stepped passed two defenders before dinking the ball wide to Bevan French to score showing the imperious combination between the two which is surely the backbone of Wigan’s Super League title tilt. It would have been deserving of winning the game.

Lomax wins it
When they needed it most, the Champions conjured up a piece of magic to seal the Magic Weekend win. They found space out wide and Joe Batchelor made the gutsy decision to cut inside and find Jonny Lomax on his inside to score.

Talking Points:

Wigan show the defence of Champions
When Wigan first met Saints this season on Good Friday they were shown that they had a lot of work to do to match the Champions but in their two meetings since the Warriors have hauled themselves to the same level as the Saints and showed today they have the defensive resolve of Champions as they held Saints out early. Even Bevan French’s desperate tackle attempt on Welsby demonstrated this.

Wigan show the attack of Champions
Alongside a mean defence, to win a Grand Final you also have to have an attack that can create something from nothing and John Bateman’s spectacular try demonstrated that Wigan have that. It’s no surprise given French and Field’s pace.

Saints show why they are the Champions
12-2 down despite plenty of early pressure, the Saints could’ve folded and admitted that it wasn’t their day. But Champions never say die and this Saints side are indeed the Champions and they showed why with a lovely innovative try from Batchelor and an opportunistic effort from Jack Welsby. They again showed more magic to turn around another deficit at the end to claim the spoils and nudge closer to the League Leaders’ Shield.

Singleton sees red
It’s a shame that a game like this should be affected so much by a referee’s decision but that’s the way it is. Whether you agree with the rules or not, Singleton – whether intentionally or not – made contact with the head with his shoulder and that is going to yield a red card these days. It’s modern rugby league whether we like it or not and is for player safety. Let’s hope that should these two meet in the Grand Final we are saved from such a challenge even if there seemed to be little Singleton could do to pull out.

With French and Field anything’s possible
Field and French ended today with a combined two tries and two assists of the three tries Wigan scored. The pair link up masterfully and with them in the side anything is possible for Wigan. Dare I say it, even the double.

The Grand Final in waiting
Based on today’s game this is indeed the Grand Final in waiting. What a physical and fast contest christened with some amazing tries. They seem a cut above but the likes of Huddersfield and Catalans may have something to say about that.

Never write off the Saints
Twice seemingly down and out and without key player Alex Walmsley, Saints still found a way to win. It might have been different had Singleton not received a red card but what a game. I can’t wait for the next instalment in this rivalry.

Player Ratings:

St Helens
3 Will Hopoate – 8
27 Jon Bennison – 7
23 Konrad Hurrell – 7
11 Sione Mata’utia – 7
5 Regan Grace – 8
1 Jack Welsby – 9
6 Jonny Lomax – 9
17 Agnatius Paasi – 7
9 James Roby – 7
10 Matty Lees – 7
16 Curtis Sironen – 7
12 Joe Batchelor – 9
13 Morgan Knowles – 7
Substitutes
14 Joey Lussick – 7
15 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook – 7
19 Jake Wingfield – 7
24 Dan Norman – 7

Wigan Warriors
23 Jai Field – 9
1 Bevan French – 9
11 Willie Isa – 8
2 Jake Bibby – 7
5 Liam Marshall – 7
6 cade Cust – 7
16 Harry Smith – 7
8 Brad Singleton – 7
9 Sam Powell – 7
20 Liam Byrne – 7
12 Liam Farrell – 8
13 John Bateman – 8
22 Joe Shorrocks – 7
Substitutes
10 Patrick Mago – 7
15 Kaide Ellis – 7
17 Oliver Partington – 7
19 Ethan Havard – 7

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