Injury-hit Wigan won a passionate and bruising Super League derby to inflict a first defeat on the St Helens caretaker coaches, Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham. Saints never recovered from losing the scrum-half Jonny Lomax with a badly broken thumb after 16 minutes and Wigan ran out 28-10 winners in front of an 18,000 capacity crowd at Langtree Park.
St Helens also lost the England forward Jon Wilkin to a shoulder injury suffered late in the game, to cap a miserable afternoon. Storming displays from Gareth Hock and Jeff Lima helped Wigan to make up for the absence of five first-choice forwards through injury and suspension – Hock and Lima scored the late tries that secured victory for the Warriors.
The Hull coach, Peter Gentle, paid tribute to his assistant Lee Radford, who came out of retirement to score a try in a 36-6 derby victory over Hull KR at the KC Stadium.
Radford turned his back on the last year of his playing deal with Hull at the end of last season, in order to take up an offer to be Gentle's assistant. Yesterday the 32-year-old prop scored a first-half try which helped his side draw level, following Craig Hall's Rovers try which opened the scoring.
"Lee was never going to disappoint. I knew Lee would be up for it, this was ideal, it was a game made for him and I knew he would come in and do a terrific job," said Gentle. "Hopefully that won't be his only game over Easter and he'll pull through OK and be able to play on Monday at Huddersfield. It is a bit early to say but we don't have anyone else to bring in and if anything the players are going the other way, so we need him."
Huddersfield won the other afternoon game, 36-10 at home to Salford, to end Hull's brief reign at the top of the table. The Giants hooker Tommy Lee scored two tries.