Wane revels in stopping Saints
6:16am Saturday 19th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Wigan coach Shaun Wane could not hide his delight after masterminding the first defeat of the year for arch rivals St Helens.
The reigning Super League champions saved their best performance of the season for their biggest match as they ended Saints' 100 per cent record with a 33-14 triumph in front of a capacity crowd at Langtree Park.
"For me, as a Wigan bloke, for us to come here and win as comfortable as that against a very good team, I can't tell you how good it feels," Wane said.
"I was really pleased when they won that game at Cas. We were all screaming for it because we wanted to come here with them unbeaten. For the last few weeks everything has been geared towards this game.
"We knew that, if we started really well, it would put them under the pump and that's the way it panned out."
Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin led the way for the champions, scoring the game's first try inside two minutes, and his England team-mate Liam Farrell touched down twice as they overcame the early loss of centre Iain Thornley (pectoral muscle) and prop Eddy Pettybourne (calf).
"I don't think we were 100 per cent at our best but we did enough and showed a lot of desire," Wane said.
"We had one player on the bench at the end of the game. When you pick your bench, you don't think your centre is going to come off after three minutes and you don't think you're going to lose a front rower permanently.
"For a large period of the game we had two people on the bench against a really good team. I was pleased with the desire.
" We weren't as structured today but we played what we saw and the skill of the players was fantastic."
Both Wane and St Helens coach Nathan Brown hailed the impact of O'Loughlin, who has played in five consecutive matches for his club the first time for almost 12 months.
"He never ceases to amaze me," Wane said. "He's an outstanding captain and a good bloke, he can drink, he can do anything.
"I also thought Liam Farrell was fantastic, Joe Burgess never put a foot wrong and Matty Bown had his best game yet."
Saints, who had snatched last-gasp wins from each of their three previous matches, found the task too difficult this time, despite in-form winger Tom Makinson scoring two first-half tries to take his tally to 11 in just nine appearances.
"They were far better than us today," Brown said. "Sean O'Loughlin showed why he is one of the best players in the world.
"He was far and away the best player on the field. He's a sensational player and that's why Waney saves him for the big games.
"You can't carry players against them and we had too many players out there not at the level need to be to beat a champion side.
"We had some nice sequences of play in the first half but we turned the ball over too much in the second half."