Growing up in Billinge and playing his amateur rugby for Orrell St James', Jonny Lomax knows all to well what Friday's derby clash with Wigan means to both players and fans.
Saints face Wigan in a ‘Bad Friday’ derby at the Totally Wicked Stadium with tickets selling fast and Lomax insists Friday’s clash with the Warriors “means so much” to both sets of fans.
“You’re brought up on the derby as a young lad, he said. “If you are a Saints fan or a Wigan fan, it means so much. Some games mean more and this is one of them!
“It’s a local derby, local rivalry and form and league table goes out of the window for these games. It is something we look forward to and something you want to be a part of as a kid when you grow up and nothing changes as you continue through your career. You are upset if you miss them and if you are a part of them you look forward to them. The whole week is built up and it is different to other weeks.”
As Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook alluded to, Wigan have found form in recent weeks, winning five games on the bounce and Lomax insists he and the rest of the Saints squad knew it was only a matter of time before our neighbours found their feet.
“We had no doubts about how good of a side Wigan are. Even at the beginning of the year, their form wasn’t where they wanted it to be but at the end of the day they were champions last year for a reason and have been there or there about’s every year.
“If they haven’t won it they have been up there and that is what you expect. Wigan are a champion side and their form is reflecting that. There is a lot of mutual respect between the two teams and it is for that reason – because we are two good teams. Hopefully we can put on a good spectacle come Friday.
The game is not televised for the first time in 24 years, but Jonny believes that can hopefully add to the atmosphere on the night with close to a sell out expected.
“I suppose it is a bit of bizarre one because as fans you want to see these games, but I suppose it [the atmosphere] will only add to the spice of the game and hopefully it can be a sell out, the atmosphere will be loud and that will add to the excitement about playing in these games.”
For the first time in 24 years and 94 consecutive games, the fixture can only be experienced live with a match ticket as it will not be televised!
Tickets for this MUST-SEE event start from just £10 for 16s and under and £23 for adults.
You can get your tickets online here by calling 01744 455052 or by visiting the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium – subject to availability, while stocks last.