Yates’ verdict: Saints were cruelly exposed by Warriors

Tommy Makinson pounces to stop a flying Dominic Manfredi in his tracks
Tommy Makinson pounces to stop a flying Dominic Manfredi in his tracks

The growing number of empty seats reflected the disappointment of Saints’ fans as the eagerly-awaited Good Friday derby against Wigan Warriors at Langtree Park headed to its inevitable conclusion.

A 24-12 defeat was also a bitter pill to swallow - even if the lack-lustre hosts were a little fortuitous not the find themselves on the receiving end of a heavier scoreline.

Dominic Manfredi crashes over for Wigan Warriors

Dominic Manfredi crashes over for Wigan Warriors

At times Keiron Cunningham’s boys flattered to deceive - throwing down the gauntlet in the first quarter before fading into almost total obscurity.

Had they crossed the whitewash in those vital opening stages - and they had chances - the outcome could have been vastly different.

But, in contrast, Wigan capitalised fully on the openings they created in the second quarter of the first half with their vastly superior pace and a razor-sharp cutting edge leading to three unanswered tries and a 16-0 interval lead.

Saints huffed and puffed in a bid to turn the tide but the damage had already been done and the harder they tried to wipe out the deficit the more errors crept in.

Sean O'Loughlin breaks clear of the Saints defence

Sean O'Loughlin breaks clear of the Saints defence

They certainly will not look back with any pride on an 80-minute performance which fell below their own high standards.

Defensively, they were cruelly exposed down the left-hand side where winger Dominic Manfredi’s searing pace proving too hot to handle while the Warriors’ rearguard dealt more than effectively with any pressure placed on them.

The jubilant visiting fans burst into song at the end, claiming: “We are the greatest team the world has ever seen.”

Far from it on this display but you have to admire the way the Cherry and Whites have grinded out results so far following the season-ending injury to hooker Michael McIlorum and the absence of experienced full-back Sam Tomkins.

Sean O'Loughlin is wrapped up by Saints' Joe Greenwood and Theo Fages

Sean O'Loughlin is wrapped up by Saints' Joe Greenwood and Theo Fages

Saints, on the other hand, need to get back on the horse as quickly as possible after successive defeats but that won’t be easy looking at the fixtures ahead in what is already developing into a topsy-turvy Super League.

Wigan's Taulima Tautai is tackled by Jon Wilikin

Wigan's Taulima Tautai is tackled by Jon Wilikin