Written by Daniel Church
Round 8 ended today with Hull KR vs Hull FC, and the other derby St Helens vs Wigan.
Controversial was the word for the referee with some dubious decisions.
A sold-out crowd witnessed a Saints masterclass today as they ran out 22-4 victors on derby day, despite almost going 4-0 down, a certain try opportunity was squandered for Wigan, Cust broke the line and flicked the ball out to Farrell, however the ball was very poor and he spilled it. Wigan started the better side.
St Helens managed to get over after 8 minutes, but the try was disallowed for a knock-on after going upstairs. End to end rugby was the narrative for the next 15 minutes, with line-breaks and many audacious passing attempts. Bennison broke away but was pulled back for a forward pass.
Again, St Helens were over Wigan passed the ball around and a wayward pass was intercepted, Batchelor ran half the length of the pitch to touchdown but was sadly humbled by the ref, who sent the decision upstairs. For a knock-on! As the ball did touch Field it was classed as a knock on even though the ball never touched the ground! A harsh and rather dubious decision from the ref once again the RFL really need to crack down on this.
Wigan went ahead in the 21st minute, Leuluai played the short ball to star man Jai Field, who has just signed a new contract, and he got over in the corner. He sadly missed his chance to add the extras.
Important score for Saints!
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) April 15, 2022
Morgan Knowles was sent for a head assessment, which he sadly failed. But just 2 minutes later, Makinson flew over in the corner in true Tommy style, equalising the game after back to back sets of 6 for Wigan to try and defend. His kick drifted wide.
Saints now on the front foot, attacked and attacked but couldn’t break through the line. Until Makinson broke through the line after a defence splitting pass from Hurrell. Makinson fed the ball to Lomax who touched down in front of the travelling Wigan supporters. Makinson promptly added the 2, putting St Helens in the driving seat 5 minutes from the hooter.
A penalty right on the stroke of half-time let Saints kick for 2, extending their lead to 8 points going into the break.
Knock on from kick-off, but no matter for Saints as on the re-start Wigan did the same thing after a poor pass. Much like the first half, very end to end! Perfect for a derby. Wigan played a forward pass deep inside their own half, an amateur level mistake. Saints scored off this chance, Lomax found Percival and Percival found Batchelor who touched down again, again it went upstairs but this time was given, much to the relief of the Saints squad. Makinson didn’t kick too great today and missed again.
Wigan were poor for discipline, Saints kicked a penalty again, further extending the lead. And just minutes later Powell was sent to the bin for a poor challenge on Bennison.
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) April 15, 2022
Both sides exchanged sets well all game, and Percival who was outstanding all game got his reward, a high kick and pressure forced the error and he dived at the chance, getting over to extend the saints lead to 22-4. Makinson again failed to kick the goal.
With Powell back on for the last 10, Wigan tried to narrow the lead. Abbas Miski got over but after a video referee referral, he was deemed to be in touch as his boot touched the white. Close for Wigan and a real shame for Miski.
Neither side scored in the last 5, St Helens did pile on the pressure but there was no finishing touch for them.
St Helens 22
St Helens: Welsby; Makinson, Hurrell, Percival, Bennison; Lomax, Dodd; Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Batchelor, Bell, Knowles
Interchanges: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Wingfield
Tries Makinson, Lomax, Batchelor, Percival
Goals Makinson 3
Wigan: Field; Miski, Bateman, Bibby, French; Cust, Leuluai; Singleton, Powell, Byrne, Isa, Farrell, Smithies
Interchanges: Mago, Partington, Havard, Shorrocks