Saints booked their place at Old Trafford for the first time since 2014 after a hugely impressive seven try victory over derby rivals Wigan Warriors at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Inside an electric Totally Wicked Stadium and after a week off to refresh, Saints came flying out of the traps forcing Wigan to kick from their own half. That pressure was turned into points minutes later after a neat kick back towards the posts from Lachlan Coote was pounced on by Theo Fages and the Frenchman touched down to open the scoring. Coote added the two.
Saints continued on the front foot and were in again minutes later when defence was turned into attack with Kevin Naiqama intercepting a George Williams pass on the half way line. The centre took the interception and raced away to score under the posts. Coote added the extras.
12 points were turned into 14 with Coote converting a penalty after a barnstorming run from Alex Walmsley had caused mayhem in the Wigan defence.
Wigan pulled a try back against the run of play through Liam Marshall after Chris Hankinson found a gap in the Saints line and raced clear before passing to Marshall on his outside.
But it didn’t take Saints long to get back on top as Coote chased his own kick and forced a goal line drop out. On the next set a short ball from James Roby found the excellent Luke Thompson who crashed over. Coote added the extras extended the lead to 14 points again.
The first half scoring didn’t stop there with Roby involved again, his ball finding Jonny Lomax and the stand off forced his way over past three Wigan defenders. It was arguably Saints’ best 40 minute performance of the season.
Saints started the second half the way they ended the first, forcing a repeat set on the Wigan line. Unfortunately a knock on from Fages ended the attack, but the Saints had momentum again.
We were not to be denied for long as substitute Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook broke through the Wigan line which created the space for Coote who fed Zeb Taia to walk in at the corner.
Saints were in again on the hour mark with a flowing move down the left edge. With the West Terrace cheering every tackle, Saints forced the knock on inside Wigan’s ten meters. From the resulting set the ball went out wide to the right with Fages finding Lomax and he fed Mark Percival who scored in the corner. Coote was unable to converted off the touchline.
Percival was in again moments later for his second and Saints seventh try of the night after Coote found the centre and he ran through two Wigan defenders to touch down. Coote converted brilliantly off the touchline to bring up the 40 points.
Wigan did grab a consolation try late on through Bevan French, but that didn’t stop the Saints fans from celebrating a first trip to Old Trafford since 2014 and Justin Holbrook’s final game at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Saints Team: Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Thompson, Roby, Walmsley, Peyroux, Taia, Knowles.
Subs: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth, Bentley.
Tries – Fages (4), Naiqama ( 11), Thompson (28), Lomax (34), Taia (46), Percival (61,75).
Goals – Coote ( 5 from 7).
Penalties – Coote ( 1 from 1).
Wigan Warriors: Hardaker, Marshall, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Clubb, Powell, Partington, Isa, Farrell, O’Loughlin.
Subs: Byrne, Flower, French, Smithies.
Tries – Marshall (20), French (79).
Goals – Hardaker ( 1 from 2).
HT – 26-6
FT – 40-10
Attendance – 14,508