Referee Ben Thaler showed the red card to Kyle Amor after only twelve minutes of a thrilling Good Friday derby, but St Helens fought back from the setback before eventually going down 29-18 to Wigan at the DW Stadium.
Amor was dismissed for a high tackle on Wigan winger Liam Marshall, although the big screen suggested afterwards that the tackle was in fact aimed at the chest and appeared perhaps more serious than it actually was.
Saints had a large army of travelling supporters to see them play their first game since the dismissal of their coach Keiron Cunningham, and they wouldn’t have been too disappointed by what they saw, particularly from debutant winger Regan Grae, who scored a try and looked dangerous throughout.
But Wigan had their own young winger who was out to make a name for himself in Liam Marshall, who scored two fine tries, including an extraordinary effort where he touched down just inside the corner post in a despairing Tommy Makinson tackle.
Joe Burgess also touched down twice for Wigan, while Liam Farrell was their other tryscorer. Morgan Escaré added four conversions and a field goal.
St Helens scored tries by Morgan Knowles, Grace and Makinson, but it was a game in which the young stars from both teams shone the brightest, although one of the best moments for Wigan supporters came on 32 minutes, when Michael McIlorum came off the bench for his first appearance in 14 months following his long spell out of the game with injury.
Wigan: 22 Morgan Escaré, 36 Tom Davies, 3 Anthony Gelling, 5 Joe Burgess, 35 Liam Marshall, 6 George Williams, 7 Thomas Leuluai, 8 Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 16 Sam Powell, 10 Ben Flower, 11 Joel Tomkins, 12 Liam Farrell, 13 Sean O’Loughlin (C); Subs: 17 Taulima Tautai, Ryan Sutton, Willie Isa, 9 Michael McIlorum.
St Helens: 2 Tommy Makinson, 5 Adam Swift, 3 Ryan Morgan, 4 Mark Percival, 28 Regan Grace, 6 Theo Fages, 7 Matty Smith, 10 Kyle Amor, 17 Tommy Lee, 14 Luke Douglas, 36 Zeb Taia, 12 Jon Wilkin (C), 13 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook; Subs: 8 Alex Walmsley, 16 Luke Thompson, 19 Greg Richards, 20 Morgan Knowles.
A full report, photos and analysis from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.