Farrell keeps Wigan kicking

Wigan 18 - St Helens 12

Wigan overcame a dismal start to outplay their oldest rivals and move to within two victories of an Old Trafford grand final.

Wigan overcame a dismal start to outplay their oldest rivals and move to within two victories of an Old Trafford grand final.

Saints were so much on top in the first half-hour that they must surely have thought they were on their way. But the impact of Luke Robinson from the Wigan bench and a gritty defensive effort from all his team-mates means that the season is over for Ian Millward and his team.

In the first significant action of a nervous opening passage of play, Mick Higham blocked Danny Orr's kick and set up a counter-attack that ended with Ian Hardman touching down. But the try was disallowed by the video referee for an accidental offside at the start of Higham's run.

Saints did take the lead after 12 minutes, however, when Craig Smith would not let Nick Fozzard play the ball and Sean Long put over the penalty.

The Wigan-born Long, in his second game back after his suspension for betting irregularities, was predictably booed every time he went near the ball, but he was part of a Saints side that was having distinctly the better of the first half.

Wigan's frustration showed in the number of penalties they were conceding and from another of them (for offside at the play-the-ball) Long kicked a further penalty. Yet another saw him make it a six-point gap as he continued to punish Wigan's indiscipline.

Saints would have been further ahead but for the try-saving tackle of Kris Radlinski on Higham after they had cut through the Wigan defence.

Wigan badly needed a spark of initiative and they got it from their substitute, Robinson, destined for Salford next season after Wigan decided he was not what they need. He showed all the cheek that a good half-back needs by taking a quick penalty near Saints' line, dummying to pass and diving over.

Andy Farrell kicked the equalising goal and Robinson was involved again as Wigan took the lead before half-time, instigating the attack that also included Adrian Lam and Gareth Hock before Kevin Brown plunged over, with Farrell adding the goal from the touchline.

Wigan's roll continued after the break with Sean O'Laughlin sweeping through Paul Sculthorpe's tackle and getting the ball away for his brother-in-law, Farrell, to score the try and convert once more.

Only a knock-on by Brett Dallas put an end to another Wigan try soon after. But Saints almost got back into the game when Long had a touchdown disallowed when he stole the ball from Brown's fingertips.

Saints were applying plenty of pressure but now they were the side lacking composure as Wigan's defence maintained its fierce intensity.

Saints finally got over for their only try of the match five minutes from the end, when Paul Wellens got an overhead pass away for Ade Gardner to score, Long keeping hopes alive with a touchline conversion. That guaranteed a nervous finish but with O'Laughlin making two crucial interceptions Wigan hung on to book their meeting with Wakefield next weekend.

Wigan: Radlinski, Dallas, Brown, Wild, Aspinwall, Orr, Lam, Farrell, Newton, Smith, Hock, Tickle, O'Loughlin. Subs: Robinson, Olly, D Sculthorpe, O'Connor.

St Helens: Wellens, Albert, Hooper, Talau, Hardman, Roby, Long, Fozzard, Higham, Cunningham, Gilmour, Joynt, P Sculthorpe. Subs: Gardner, Mason, Edmondson, Wilkin.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there