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Super League: Wigan triumph over St Helens in Good Friday derby
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Wigan put paid to St Helens' perfect record in 2014 with a superb 33-14 triumph over their arch-rivals in front of a full house at Langtree Park.
Liam Farrell scored two of his side's five tries as it turned out to be a very Good Friday indeed for the Warriors; they shut out their hosts in the second half having led 20-14 at the break.
Saints never actually led in the contest as they proved unable to pull off a repeat of their recent comebacks against Huddersfield and Castleford.
Tommy Makinson did cross twice in a losing cause but the current leaders in Super League were comfortably second best to the reigning champions.
St Helens didn't help themselves at times - they knocked on during the first set of six and then conceded inside three minutes, the outstanding Sean O'Loughlin pinching one from close range as the markers were caught cold.
Although the hosts did respond with Makinson's first of the afternoon, Wigan seized control of the contest with two superbly-manufactured tries that Matty Smith converted, making it 18-4.
Having scored his side's first visiting skipper O'Loughlin set up the second for the Warriors, continuing an initial break by Blake Green before taking a moment to consider his options, allowing him to spot the supporting Dan Sarginson charging up on the right wing.
The loose forward floated out a pass to set up his team-mate for an easy run-in, allowing the former London Bronco to get on the scoresheet for a second successive match after his brace against his old employers the previous Friday.
Green was also the catalyst for the Warriors' third score, the half-back putting up a high kick to the left corner that Burgess knocked back to Farrell. Saints had their chances to stop the England international, only to fall off the forward and allow him to roll over the line.
Saints were shaken by the deficit, though this time they didn't leave it until the second half to begin their comeback bid.
Makinson managed a second on the right flank and having been denied once by a ball-strip as he plunged for the line, Jordan Turner crashed over on the same side of the field. Walsh, though, missed both conversions, and a Smith penalty made it 20-14 to Wigan at the break.
But unlike at Castleford a week ago, when they came back from an 18-point deficit to triumph in such dramatic fashion, there was to be no second-half turnaround from St Helens.
The game was put out of their reach by a two-try burst in the space of five minutes. Farrell got the first of them when he hacked a Joe Burgess kick straight into the oncoming Jonny Lomax, the ball ricocheting off the home full-back and back into the Wigan player's arms.
Burgess touched down shortly after as Wigan again cut through their opponents down the left, John Bateman - filling in at centre - brilliantly setting the winger free with an offload around the back of Makinson.
The quick-fire double took the sting out of Saints, and a combination of the scoreboard and the sunshine seemed to sap them of their energy and spirit.
Smith completed his fine afternoon with the boot with a drop goal that sealed a win for Shaun Wane's side that was even more impressive considering they lost both Iain Thornley and Eddy Pettybourne to injury early on.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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