A Regan Grace hat-trick inspired Saints to a thrilling 36-10 win over rivals Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium in the traditional Good Friday derby.
Inside an electric DW Stadium packed out with over 5,500 Saints fans, James Roby set us on our way scurrying over from dummy half. Wigan to their credit responded through Hardaker, before Grace grabbed his first after Jonny Lomax had broken through the Wigan line. Lachlan Coote hit a penalty before Grace went over for his second. George Williams gave Wigan hope on the half-time hooter, before Saints blew the Warrriors away in the second half. First Tommy Makinson went over, before Grace secured his hat-trick and Coote went over late on to send the Saints fans home bouncing.
An electric start to the Good Friday clash saw Saints off to a flyer through Roby. After back to back sets on the Wigan line, Roby picked the ball up from close range to crash over giving Saints the lead. Coote kicked the conversion. The opening try came at a cost though as Mark Percival hobbled off with a hamstring injury with LMS filling in the centres. LMS was to hobble off late on with a knee injury.
Wigan hit back within minutes though after a move on their right edge saw Hardaker find the gap to score, but he was unable to convert before Tom Davies was stretchered off with a nasty looking ankle injury.
An entertaining 15 minutes followed with both defences standing firm after being forced to defend back to back sets. But it was Saints who struck next after a bit of magic from Lomax created the gap for himself to run 20 metres and then feed Grace who scored in the corner.
Coote kicked a penalty minutes later giving Saints a 12-4 lead before Saints were in again. Thompson took an inside ball and broke the Wigan defensive line before feeding the supporting Coote who was tackled just short of the Wigan line. Straight from the play off the ball Thompson put Grace in at the corner giving Saints an 18-4 lead with Coote converting off the touchline.
Wigan grabbed a lifeline though scoring with seconds left on the first half after Oliver Gildart broke and fed Williams inside to score sending the teams in at half time with the score at Wigan 10-18 Saints.
The second half started just like the first with both sides playing at a fast pace. It was Wigan who were almost in first, but a try saving tackle from Danny Richardson and Makinson denied the Warriors. On the very next set the pair combined sending Makinson over in the corner after great handling from Naiqama.
Man of the match Grace then grabbed his hat-trick. After great handling on our left edge from Dom Peyroux, who put Grace away down the line. The winger stepped back inside three Warriors defenders to touch down for his third try.
Another try quickly followed when Coote chased down a Lomax kick and out jumped Hardaker to score with the Saints fans wildly singing his name. They sung a little louder minutes later as Coote converted his own try to give Saints a 36-10 Derby Day victory!
Tries: Hardaker (12), Williams (39).
Goals: Hardaker (1 from 2)
Starting 13: Hardaker, Davies, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Shorrocks, Flower, Leuluai, Navarrete, Isa, Smithies, Partington,
Interchanges: O’Loughlin, Tautai, Bullock, Greenwood.
Tries: Roby (6), Grace (24, 31, 63) Makinson (47), Coote (70)
Goals: Coote (4 from 6)
Penalties: Coote 2
Starting 13: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Danny Richardson, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dom Peyroux, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Joseph Paulo, LMS, Matty Lees, Aaron Smith.
REF: J. Child