SAINTS went down 28-10 at home to Wigan Warriors to end their winning run.
Tries from Francis Meli and Sia Soliola weren’t enough as their nearest rivals took advantage of the big occasion to take the spoils.
One of the highlights of Saints last two performances has been their ability to destroy teams in the opening 20 minutes.
Well, they weren’t given a chance against the Warriors who brushed off Francis Meli’s 12th minute try to lead 12-4 at half time.
Saints got away from the gameplan, dropped too many balls and conceded daft penalties to give the Warriors the impetus.
In the second half, Saints struggled to break through until Sia Soliola’s big drive but his good work was undone when Sam Tomkins stepped off a Gareth Hock offload.
Hock then effectively sealed the win with Jeff Lima grabbing another on the dot.
Saints began the match on the back foot when Tommy Makinson – coming in for the suspended Paul Wellens – spilled a kick that came at him at speed along the floor.
But his charges defended well and managed to thwart Wigan’s attack.
Both sides then made handling errors as they struggled to get any real go forward; and then Saints took advantage of one to strike first.
A great kick from Lance Hohaia saw Sam Tomkins scrambling – and when he caught the ball he was crunched by Josh Jones.
The ball came loose, was recycled by Hohaia to Francis Meli who made no mistake.
Jonny Lomax wide with the conversion.
The lead was short lived through as Saints forced the pass, Wigan scooped up and Darrell Goulding did the rest; Charnley converting.
Pat Richards then one disallowed by the video referee but George Carmont made no mistake moments later as Wigan spread the play.
Josh Charnley adding his second conversion of the afternoon.
Saints bagged three repeat sets in the final few minutes, but couldn’t find a significant gap to get back into it.
And they were lucky not to be further down as Sia Soliola needed all his strength to stop Jack Hughes putting down.
The second half started with Saints pinning Wigan back with some early kicks.
Wigan then won a penalty right in Saints territory, but the home side defended well before finally getting back into the match.
Referee Phil Bentham repeatedly penalised Wigan in the tackle and on Saints fourth set, Soliola ploughed over.
Tommy Makinson converting instead of the injured Jonny Lomax.
Sam Tomkins took advantage of a poor penalty call to fire Wigan further ahead – converted by Charnley – and as the clock ticked down Gareth Hock scored after Michael Shenton was sinbinned.
Lima sealing it at the end with a superb run.
All in all it was a poor show from Saints who couldn’t match the intensity of the previous two wonderful performances, but they will head into Easter Monday’s match looking to bounce back.
Tries: Meli, Soliola
Goals: (Lomax 0 from 1), Makinson (1 from 1)
Tries: Goulding, Carmont, Tomkins, Hock, Lima
Goals: Charnley (4 from 5)
REF: Phil Bentham
21. Tommy Makinson; 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Michael Shenton, 26. Josh Jones, 5. Francis Meli; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Jonny Lomax; 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby, 18. Shaun Magennis, 13. Chris Flannery, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 4. Sia Soliola, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Paul Clough.
1. Sam Tomkins; 2. Josh Charnley, 3. Darrell Goulding, 4. George Carmont, 5. Pat Richards; 6. Brett Finch, 7. Thomas Leuluai; 8. Paul Prescott, 9. Michael McIlorum, 14. Jeff Lima, 12. Gareth Hock, 11. Harrison Hansen, 17. Chris Tuson.
Subs: 22. Gil Dudson, 26. Jack Hughes, 28. Logan Tomkins, 32. Tom Spencer.