SAINTS are on their way to Old Trafford once again following a fantastic 26-18 win over Wigan Warriors.
Heroes all from 1 to 17 meant Royce Simmons’ men ripped up the form book, silenced the doubters and now face Leeds on Saturday.
Lee Gaskell’s try 25 minutes into the first half rescued Saints from being swamped by a dominant Warriors.
The Champions produced a blockbusting performance to lead 6-0 before the home side worked their way back into it.
Royce Simmons’ men then had chances but couldn’t convert and would have been satisfied with a four-point deficit heading into the sheds.
But in the second half, Saints upped the ante and Paul Wellens scored his 200th try for the club before Foster finished off a great move.
Saints then tackled like demons to shut the door – Roby charging over in the final stages – to send the home support wild.
Only one alteration for the home side from the team that beat Wigan a fortnight ago – Gary Wheeler returning from injury to take Tom Armstrong’s place on the bench.
The Warriors also made one change to the original 19 named for the Catalans game with Eamon O’Carroll coming in to replace Darrell Goulding.
Both sides tested each other early doors with kicks before a towering bomb was defused by Mr Reliable Paul Wellens.
But when Jonny Lomax was forced to kick out on the full and Saints were called offside Pat Richards made it 2-0.
Wigan then scored when a ball bounced along the floor and Jamie Foster was caught in two minds whether to kick it dead or handle it.
He did neither and Josh Charnley mopped up.
Saints then knocked on in their own 25 metre area but had a Wigan handling error to thank for no further damage on the scoreboard.
Strong runs from Lomax and Graham were clearing the lines and on 18 minutes the home side finally had some territory. Six tackles couldn’t get them close though but it was a great confidence boost.
Lee Gaskell then sprung down the field but couldn’t find a teammate.
He wasn’t to be outdone though and on Saints’ next attack the ball came along the line and Lomax linked up with the youngster to level the score…. Following Jamie Foster’s routine conversion of course.
Jamie Foster then made it 8-6 with a coolly taken penalty to complete a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.
But Wigan hit back through Eamon O Carroll who took a flat pass to barge through some poor Saints defence.
Pat Richards converting.
Saints then had three sets on Wigan’s line, but couldn’t convert; Simmons probably glad they went into the sheds just 12-8 down after an indifferent first half.
Saints needed a massive start to the half and got just that when Paul Wellens scored his 200th try in Saints colours to level it up following Roby’s cute kick.
Foster from the touchline put Saints ahead; kicking another penalty moments later to make it 16-12.
And Saints’ second half got even better when Wilkin started a great passing move to get Foster over in the corner.
Harrison Hanson should have scored under the posts for Wigan but was ankle tapped by Lomax before Paul Clough and Wellens cleaned up.
Desperate defence then kept out Josh Charnley as the Warriors went to turn the screw.
As the game headed into the last 10 both sides became more anxious but Saints held their nerve… Roby crossing in the final stages to seal the win.
Sam Tomkins late late score nothing more than a consolation.
Tries: Gaskell, Wellens, Foster, Roby
Goals: Foster (5 from 6)
Tries: Charnley, O’Carroll, S. Tomkins
Goals: Richards (2 from 3)
REF: Phil Bentham
1. Paul Wellens; 28. Tom Makinson, 3. Michael Shenton, 5. Francis Meli, 22. Jamie Foster; 25. Lee Gaskell, 20. Jonny Lomax; 10. James Graham, 9. James Roby, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Jon Wilkin, 4. Sia Soliola, 16. Paul Clough.
Subs: 14. Scott Moore, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 17. Gary Wheeler, 19. Andrew Dixon.
1. Sam Tomkins; 25. Josh Charnley, 12. Joel Tomkins, 4. George Carmont, 5. Pat Richards; 17. Brett Finch, 7. Thomas Leuluai; 10. Andy Coley, 9. Michael McIlorum, 15. Jeff Lima, 11. Harrison Hansen, 16. Ryan Hoffman, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.
Subs: 14. Paul Prescott, 20. Eamon O’Carroll, 22. Liam Farrell, 23. Chris Tuson.