St Helens ended Wigan Warriors’ 15-match winning run with a drama-filled 12-4 victory in the Good Friday derby.

It was a tense and tantalising opening 40 between the two foes, huge tackles only being interrupted by a penalty conversion from the boot of Mark Percival as Saints took a 2-0 lead in at half-time.

Tyler Dupree also saw trouble in the first 40 as he was sent to the sin bin for leading with the elbow in a carry, escaping a red card due to hitting Matty Lees’ chest before his head.

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Bevan French got Wigan up and running just over 15 minutes into the second half as he finished off his own grubber, the video referee judging him to have grounded it to give his side a 4-2 lead.

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Liam Byrne receives red for a high tackle on Mark Percival after it was checked by the video ref

Wigan were then reduced to 12 as Liam Byrne saw red for a high shot on Percival and that was when St Helens took advantage, Makinson showing his class to put Saints back in front as he snatched the ball in the air from Jai Field and dived over to give his side a slim 6-4 lead.

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Tommy Makinson scores an incredible try after catching a high ball just yards from the tryline

Konrad Hurrell was then the man to seal the win for St Helens as he barrelled over in the corner and sent the home fans wild and back to the top of the table.

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Tyler Dupree escaped a red card after appearing to lead with the elbow as he had possession of the ball and running at his opponent Matty Lees and making contact with his chest

Attritional tackling on top as St Helens end arch rivals’ winning run

The atmosphere was electric inside the Totally Wicked Stadium as crunching tackles took over the opening few minutes, both sides making their mark.

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Jon Bennison comes through like a stream train trying to make some yardage for St Helens by it he stopped dead in his tracks by an hit from Bevan French

It then looked like Lewis Dodd was going to be the first to go over the whitewash as the Saints broke downfield, but Jai Field came in with a sensational try-saving tackle to stop the home outfit from getting points on the board.

St Helens were given chance after chance on Wigan’s line, but the champions stood firm under the pressure until an uncharacteristic knock-on from Field brought a penalty which Percival converted to bring up 1,000 points for the centre in a St Helens jersey.

Picture by Ed Sykes/ - 29/03/2024 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League Round 6 - St Helens v Wigan Warriors - The Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens, England - St Helens' Mark Percival scores a goal from a penalty
Image:Mark Percival found the only points of the first half with a penalty

Trouble then ensued for Wigan’s Tyler Dupree as he led into the tackle with an elbow and was sent to the sin bin, narrowly escaping the red card as he hit the chest of Lees first before connecting with his head.

Momentum continued to swing for the remainder of the half, but no points came as defences stood firm in an attritional first 40, Paul Wellens’ side taking a narrow 2-0 lead in at the break.

Score Summary: St Helens 12-4 Wigan Warriors

St Helens: Tries: Tommy Makinson (72), Konrad Hurrell (79); Conversions: Mark Percival (25), Jonny Lomax (80)

Wigan Warriors: Tries: Bevan French (56)

Both sides came out for the second half with the same attitude they had in the first but it was Wigan who had all the territory and possession and after Hurrell gifted the visitors more ball, French grubbering through and finishing off his own effort in the corner, the video referee giving what was sent up as a try.

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Bevan French puts Wigan Warriors ahead against St Helens after setting up his own try with a well crafted kick

Byrne then was shown a straight red for Wigan as he hit Percival straight into the head and Saints eventually capitalised, Makinson jumping high and snatching the ball in the air from Field and diving over in front of the home fans for a 6-4 lead.

The victory for Wellens’ side was then cemented as they piled on the pressure to allow Hurrell to barrel over in the corner, Lomax adding the extras to seal the 12-4 win.

Star man Tommy Makinson celebrates after St Helens' big win over Wigan
Image:Star man Tommy Makinson celebrates after St Helens’ big win over Wigan

What they said

St Helens head coach Paul Wellens: We came strong in the end

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Paul Wellens shares his delight after St Helens beat Wigan Warriors at home and says everything around the tie made it one of the games of the season

“It was certainly nerve-wracking at times. Obviously the game was in the balance for long periods and we lost this fixture last year and it stung. Certainly, after today, it’s all better.

“When these games are close and when they are nail-biting like that, there is no better spectacle.

“You have to withstand pressure at times and I thought we did that really well, and ultimately came on strong at the end.”

Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet: Certain bits let Wigan down, but Saints worthy winners

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Matt Peet reacts to Wigan Warriors defeat way to St Helens and he says can see why Liam Byrne was awarded a red card for a high tackle

“They’re a good team, it was a good game, and obviously we need to learn lessons, which we will do.

“I’m happy with the direction we’re travelling in, there are some obvious fixes in discipline…and certain bits let ourselves down.

“[The red card] puts us under a bit more pressure, but Saints were worthy winners in the end.”

What’s next?

St Helens travel to Catalans Dragons in Round 7 of the Betfred Super League regular season on Saturday April 6 (2.05pm UK time kick-off) in a match which is live on Sky Sports Action.

Wigan Warriors face another derby match when they travel to Leigh Leopards in ‘The Battle of the Borough’ on Thursday April 4 (8pm). That match is live on Sky Sports Action as well.

Watch every match of the 2024 Betfred Super League season, including Rivals Round, Magic Weekend, the play-offs, and men’s, women’s and wheelchair Grand Finals, live on Sky Sports. Also stream with NOW.