Wigan go top, Wolves win twice in one day

Ian Laybourn
·3-min read

Wigan produced a storming finish to deliver a first derby win for coach Adrian Lam and displace St Helens at the top of the Super League.

The Warriors trailed 6-4 at half-time but scored three second-half tries to claim an impressive 18-6 victory and put themselves in prime position to claim the League Leaders' Shield from their arch rivals.

The champions were knocked off their stride by their tough-tackling opponents and sorely missed England prop Alex Walmsley, who sat out the game due to suspension, as they went down to a second consecutive defeat.

It was uncompromising and unrelenting as the sound of the crunching hits reverberated around the empty Totally Wicked Stadium and even referee Chris Kendall could not avoid the ferocious nature of the contest.

In a tense opening quarter, the most notable incident was an accidental collision between Kendall and St Helens forward James Graham which left the Wembley referee needing time out to get his breath back.

The deadlock was broken on 29 minutes after Saints stand-off Jonny Lomax broke through the Wigan defensive line and full-back Lachlan Coote was on his shoulder to take the final pass.

Coote converted his own try but Wigan struck back seven minutes before half-time when centre Zak Hardaker placed a slide-rule grubber kick into the corner for winger Jake Bibby to score.

Further tries to veteran scrum-half Thomas Leuluai and Australian fullback Bevan French sealed the win.

Earlier, Warrington coach Steve Price was happy to take all the points he could after his team cemented their top-four spot with two victories on one day.

The Wolves were awarded a 24-0 win over Salford after their scheduled opponents were unable to raise a team before grinding out a 19-12 victory over Huddersfield in a re-arranged fixture.

"Unbelievable," said Price. "It is what it is. There's been plenty of curve balls this year and I'm sure there's going to be plenty more. We'll just crack on with it."

Warrington went into the game with the luxury of a fortnight's rest but they were made to work hard for a sixth successive win over the Giants and were indebted to hooker Daryl Clark who scored two of their three tries.

Price was forced to re-shuffle his team after winger Josh Charnley sustained a dislocated shoulder after only 17 minutes and back-row forward Jason Clark was also forced off with a head injury before half-time, when the Wolves led 8-6.

"It's a shame we picked up a couple of injuries but the guys showed a lot of grit," said Price.

Huddersfield scored tries through Jake Wardle and James Gavet to go in front early in the second half but the sin-binning of captain Aiden Sezer eight minutes from time ruined their chance of claiming victory and a fourth successive defeat effectively brings to an end their already slender play-off hopes.