Jonny Lomax seals a dramatic late win for St Helens to break Wigan’s heart | Super League

Wigan manager Matt Peet insisted this week that at least four teams will have a say in the composition of this year’s grand final. In terms of the rankings, he’s undeniably right, but if it’s Wigan v St Helens at Old Trafford in October, we’re in for a treat.

St Helens recently spent 1,000 consecutive days as Super League champions, so perhaps it was fitting that they picked up a victory filled with the hallmark that has set them apart from the chasing pack over the past three years : their ability to never give in.

It’s been two years since they lost consecutive league games, but with seconds remaining here at Newcastle, it looked like that run was about to end.

Wigan had performed admirably to not only lead by 10 points at one point, but still lead six points shorthanded after Brad Singleton was sent off with 15 minutes remaining. In recent years, a men’s advantage for St Helens was almost certainly a recipe for disaster for their opponents, but this Wigan side are cut from a different cloth.

However, just as it looked like they would hold their own, St Helens did what they have done so many times in the past and tore the script up at the very last moment. Wigan were close to equalizing at the top of the table, but in the blink of an eye Jonny Lomax’s dramatic final try after a break from Joe Batchelor opened up a four-point cushion at the top for the Saints.

“They were two very good teams who played well at different stages,” said their coach, Kristian Woolf. “We were a bit impatient, but I knew we would have an opportunity. We had to chase a few points and this last test was exceptional.

Toulouse fight back as Russell runs in double

Toulouse capitalised on a remarkable collapse from Wakefield to produce a superb second-half comeback and reignite the ­battle to avoid relegation with a 38-26 win. 

Defeat would have left the French side facing an uphill task to stay in the competition and when they trailed 20-4 at half-time, it seemed likely Trinity would open up a six-point gap. Instead Toulouse are two points behind Wakefield with a superior points difference.

David Fifita’s yellow card on the stroke of the interval swung the game in Toulouse’s favour. In the 10 minutes he was off the field Toulouse scored 18 unanswered points. Two minutes after Fifita returned Rob Butler was shown a yellow card and in his absence Toulouse scored two more tries to open up a 12-point lead. 

Wakefield’s collapse was all the more remarkable given how impressive they had been. Early tries from Liam Hood and Matty Ashurst moved them 12-0 ahead and while Joe Bretherton replied for Toulouse, Fifita crossed for a fine solo try just before the interval, with two goals from Max Jowitt making it 20-4.

But when Fifita was sent to the sin-bin Trinity fell apart. Lambert Belmas crossed under the posts before a smart move sent Matty Russell over in the corner. Chris Hankinson converted and Nathan Peats’s try pushed Toulouse ahead.

Butler’s yellow for a dangerous tackle heaped the pressure on Wakefield even further and Russell crossed for his second shortly after Latrell Schaumkel seized on a Trinity error in the corner. 

Kelepi Tanginoa scored in the final minute but Guy Armitage pounced on another Trinity error to ensure the relegation battle remains alive.

Leeds sent a clear statement of their play-off ambitions as they ran in five second-half tries to brush aside Castleford 34-14. Rohan Smith's men trailed by four points at the interval but Ash Handley, Aidan Sezer, Richie Myler, James Bentley and Liam Sutcliffe all crossed in a stirring comeback, with Rhyse Martin contributing five of six conversions. 

The Rhinos' win built on their biggest away success for 13 years at Hull KR last weekend and raised questions over Castleford's own post-season qualifications, as Lee Radford's men saw their impressive three-match winning streak brought to a juddering end. Aaron Bower and PA Media

","credit":"","pillar":2}">
Quick guide

Wakefield 26-38 Toulouse, Leeds 34-14 Castleford

Spectacle

Toulouse hit back as Russell runs doubles

Toulouse capitalized on a remarkable Wakefield slump to produce a stunning second-half comeback and reignite the battle to avoid relegation with a 38-26 win.

The defeat would have left the French side facing an uphill battle to stay in the competition and when they trailed 20-4 at half-time, it looked likely that Trinity would open a six-point gap. Instead, Toulouse are two points behind Wakefield with a superior points difference.

David Fifita’s yellow card at the break tipped the game in favor of Toulouse. In the 10 minutes he was off the field, Toulouse scored 18 unanswered points. Two minutes after Fifita returned, Rob Butler was shown a yellow card and in his absence, Toulouse scored two more tries to open a 12-point lead.

Wakefield’s collapse was all the more remarkable because they had been impressive. Early tries from Liam Hood and Matty Ashurst took them 12-0 ahead and while Joe Bretherton replied for Toulouse, Fifita crossed for a fine solo try just before the break, with two goals from Max Jowitt taking the score to 20-4.

But when Fifita was sent to sin-bin Trinity collapsed. Lambert Belmas crossed under the posts before a smart move sent Matty Russell into the corner. Chris Hankinson converts and Nathan Peats’ try propels Toulouse ahead.

Butler’s yellow for a dangerous tackle further increased the pressure on Wakefield and Russell crossed for his second shortly after Latrell Schaumkel grabbed an error from Trinity in the corner.

Kelepi Tanginoa scored in the final minute but Guy Armitage pounced on another Trinity error to ensure the relegation battle lives on.

Leeds sent a clear statement of their play-off ambitions as they raced in five second-half tries to brush aside Castleford 34-14. Rohan Smith’s men trailed by four points at the interval but Ash Handley, Aidan Sezer, Richie Myler, James Bentley and Liam Sutcliffe all crossed in a stirring comeback, with Rhyse Martin contributing five of six conversions.

The Rhinos’ win built on their biggest away success for 13 years at Hull KR last weekend and raised questions about Castleford’s post-season qualifying as Lee’s men Radford saw their impressive three-game winning streak come to an end. Aaron Bower and PA Media

Thank you for your opinion.

There is no doubt that this Wigan side are the biggest threat St Helens have faced when it comes to their Super League dominance.

The fact that the Saints were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Wigan in the semi-final before the Warriors lifted the trophy in May underscored that, and this brave effort underscored it further.

“We’ll learn a lot from the game,” Peet said. “Our levels of effort and commitment were there, but to play for this club you have to be a bit smarter.”

Wigan deservedly led at half-time, after Jai Field and Bevan French combined to send the latter across the line, nullifying Jon Bennison’s early penalty for St Helens. When John Bateman extended Wigan’s lead after half-time, it opened up a 10-point cushion for the Warriors and in games like these, advantages of that size can be significant.

But St Helens fought impressively to level the contest. Batchelor instinctively kicked past Field to put the ball on the ground before Jack Welsby grabbed a loose ball in midfield and edged French to the line.

Bennison missed the goal but when Singleton was sent off – a decision Peet said he understood – the winger converted a routine penalty to make it 12-12. Suddenly, I felt like the momentum was with the champions.

However, Wigan produced a moment of pure magic when Field broke free from deep, before smartly throwing wide for French, who had the wherewithal to finish and put the Warriors back in front. Harry Smith converted and as Wigan held Saints at bay in the frenetic final minutes, it was easy to afford a moment of reflection to wonder if the balance of power in Super League was starting to shift.

  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for 'The Guardian'.
  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.
  • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
  • Turn on sport notifications.
  • ","credit":"","pillar":2}">
    Quick guide

    How do I sign up for sports news alerts?

    Spectacle

    • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for ‘The Guardian’.
    • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re using the latest version.
    • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button in the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
    • Enable sports notifications.

    Thank you for your opinion.

    But you can never write off saints. Batchelor broke free, Lomax backed and once again we were reminded that the dominant force in the competition is in no mood to let go of its grip any time soon.

    Comments are closed.