Connect with us


Top Five Saints-Wigan Good Friday derbies

As today should have been the day where Saints and Wigan locked horns for the first time this year, we look back at five of the best Good Friday matches.

Wigan Warriors 22-20 St Helens (2005)

Danny Tickle, pictured playing for Hull KR, was the match-winner for Wigan back in 2005. Credit: News Images

It was a topsy-turvy game in 2005 between two sides who were keen to get back to Super League success.

Wigan were hoping to get back to Old Trafford for the first time since 2003, while Challenge Cup holders Saints were hoping to win back their Super League crown.

It was a good start for the hosts, who crossed through Danny Tickle and Kris Radlinski to go 12-0 up early on. Saints then hit back through Keiron Cunningham.

The Warriors then went back into a 12-point lead as Stuart Dallas managed to go over wide. Tickle converted.
But Saints once again showed their comeback abilities with three tries in five minutes. Cunningham grabbed his second after scores from Jamie Lyon and Jon Wilkin. They led 22-20 at the break.

Two penalties from Tickle was all that could separate the two sides in the second half.

Saints were just 80 minutes away from another Grand Final, but they were beaten by Bradford Bulls. Whereas Wigan didn’t even make the playoffs.

St Helens 21-18 Wigan Warriors (2018)

Regan Grace won a thriller for Saints back in 2018. Credit: News Images

Justin Holbrook’s revolution at Saints was starting to take shape. They were leading the way in 2018 by a distance.

Then came Good Friday, when the hosted nearest challengers Wigan Warriors.

Things seemed to be going to the script, as tries from Ben Barba and Zeb Taia had the Saints 12-2 up at half time. Wigan had kicked themselves 2-0 in front thanks to a penalty from Morgan Escare.

The Warriors were able to come back in the second half, and tries from Joel Tomkins and Willie Isa got the Warriors back to 14-14. Danny Richardson had kicked an earlier penalty.

However, there was more drama to come. After a missed drop-goal attempt, Regan Grace was able to punish that mistake to take Saints clear. Richardson converted, and then added a drop goal, which proved to be crucial.

Tomkins managed to get over for a second try, but George Williams missed the conversion to force a grand stand finish. It meant Saints had won on Good Friday for the first time since 2009.

However, it was Wigan who had go on to win Super League glory, after beating Warrington in the final. The Wolves had beaten the Saints, who won the League Leaders Shield, in the last round.

Wigan Warriors 28-24 St Helens (2011)

Liam Farrell scored a dramatic late winner back in 2011. Credit: News Images

The first in our list sees a meetup of the previous years Super League Grand Finalists. Wigan were victorious that day, and this was no different.

Some things had changed at St Helens, with Royce Simmons coming into the hotseat after replacing Mick Potter. They had also said goodbye to Knowsley Road, and were playing out of Widnes’ Halton Stadium while their new stadium was being completed.

What followed, was a fantastic game between two sides that looked like they would be competing for the title once more.

Saints led 10-4 at half time, thanks to tries from Michael Shenton and Jamie Foster. Josh Charnley had crossed for Wigan.

The Warriors then seemed to take control as Charnley grabbed his second, and Richards scored twice to make it 22-10.

But the famous phrase is ‘never write off the Saints’ and that rang true here.

Tries from Foster and Tommy Makinson and a penalty from Foster had Saints back in the lead at 24-22.

With time running out, Paul Deacon put Liam Farrell through and the local lad scored the winner with what turned out to be the last play of the game. Richards added the conversion to put a bit more on the final score.

At the end of the season, Saints made the Grand Final, but lost to a Leeds side that knocked out Wigan in dramatic circumstances.

Wigan Warriors 22-22 St Helens (2001)

Sean Long scored a try and kicked the crucial goal to rescue a point for St Helens in 2001. Credit: News Images

The two Grand Finalists shared the spoils when they met again in 2001.

The two sides had traded tries early on. Sean Long scored for Saints, while Radlinski crossed for the Warriors.

Saints then took the lead through Kevin Iro, but that woke Wigan up as Radlinski added his second, and Steve Renouf added two more to make it 22-12.

With just ten minutes to go, Saints got back into it through Dwayne West, and then Paul Sculthorpe added a try in somewhat fortuitous circumstances.

Vila Matautia had offloaded, but the ball had come off Sculthorpe’s knee and the ball fell to him to score. Long kicked the extras to make it a point each.

That season saw Saints relinquish their Grand Final crown, as they lost out to Wigan in the Final Eliminator. However, Wigan were beaten by a rampant Bradford side.

St Helens 21-21 Wigan Warriors (2004)

Jon Wilkin scored a try, and was then involved in the start of a mass brawl back in 2004. Credit: News Images

A match that is more remembered for a mass brawl that took place near the end of the game.

The actual match saw Saints take early control thanks to two tries from Lee Gilmour and another from Jon Wilkin, while Wigan hit back through Danny Orr. Farrell also hit a penalty to make it 14-8 at the break.

Willie Talau grabbed another try for the Saints before Wigan staged a comeback, thanks to tries from Kevin Brown and Terry Newton.

Then in the final quarter, Wilkin and Newton clashed in the ruck, and sparked a 26-man brawl, which included captains Paul Sculthorpe and Andy Farrell swinging at each other. Surprisingly, it was only Newton and Wilkin that were sent to the sin bin.

However, Saints winger Dom Feaunati earned himself a ban for his part in the brawl.

When everything eventually calmed down, Farrell thought he’d won it for Wigan with a drop goal, but Long ensured Saints remained unbeaten.

At the end of the season, Wigan knocked Saints out in the first round of the playoffs. However, they were beaten by Leeds in the Final Eliminator.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Features