IT is the sign of an odd year when the kids have played conkers before Saints have faced Wigan. But that is 2020 for you.

And when it did happen Saints were on something of a hiding to nothing, given that the Warriors ­— with an eye on Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final ­— fielded a youthful side.

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That in itself presented its own challenge for Saints with the young Wiganers producing a performance high on enthusiasm and aggression.

Lachlan Coote will testify to the latter, as he was walloped late after the kick - an incident that saw his assailant Sam Halsall given a yellow card.

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Saints were already ahead by that point, with two further tries during that period effectively killing off any slender hopes of getting anything resembling a contest from the game.

It is funny how times change.

In 2002 Saints, with an eye on the Challenge Cup Final, were hauled over the coals for sending a weakened side to Bradford.

Sick notes were called for, fines were demanded and the club were rebuked.

Nowadays, in a more grown up response, those fielding young sides are praised for their investment in the future.

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Saints had a few young guns of their own on display - and they provided some positives on top of the two points and the nilling of the side’s biggest rivals.

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Debutant Lewis Dodd came off the bench at nine to provide the odd spark at dummy half and put his body in the way of plenty of Wigan ball carriers.

Josh Simm slotted back in at the centre in place of long-term casualty Mark Percival, but it was makeshift wing Jack Weslby who impressed most in that back line.

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Welsby, who has played in all back positions this term, took his brace of tries very well and waded through a ton of work in yardage.

A comprehensive win, as expected, although Saints still had to do plenty of work given the amount of set resets that were again given against them.

But Saints will be happy to be top of the league motoring through this latter half of a troubled campaign.

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Wigan: Hanley, Halsall, Hankinson, McDonnell, Bibby, Harry Smith, Horrocks, Greenwood, Bourouh, Rushton, Bullock, Byrne,Wells. Subs: Clark, Flower, Kilner, Pearce-Paul.

Saints: Coote, Welsby, Naiqama, Simm, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Bentley, Knowles, Graham. Subs: Taia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Dodd.