ANTICIPATION is building for the long sold-out clash between Saints and Wigan. The Good Friday clash with Wigan is the most fiercely contested and historic of rugby league local rivalries.

On Friday at 3pm the sides will go head-to-head in front of a packed house at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The build up gives us the opportunity to reflect on some of the Good Friday classics from the past.

Here are six favourites of St Helens Star sports writer Mike Critchley, with another one thrown in for pure mischief.

St Helens Star:

2019 Wigan 10 Saints 36.

When Saints defeated Wigan on Good Friday 2019 there was only one soundtrack to the occasion.

It was the early days of the fans’ three-year love affair with Scottish/Australian full back Lachlan Coote.

And 5,000 choristers serenaded him with “He’s the reason, we’re top of the league this season.”

Saints were on the march, Coote’s six goals and a try, plus a hat-trick from Welsh flier Regan Grace made it a day to remember at a sun-kissed DW Stadium.

2018 Saints 21 Wigan 18.

Good things come to those who wait – and this one was extra special. After eight consecutive years of fans going home frustrated and with an Easter ruined, Saints pulled a cracker out of the bag.

It was a special day, with Ben Barba producing a dazzling display and legend Mal Meninga being a guest of the club in the stands.

A late Regan Grace try and a Danny Richardson conversion and drop goal sealed the win, the team's first at this time of the year since 2009.

2004 Saints 21 Wigan 21.

It is undoubtedly the most talked about – and most shown video clip – of all Super League Easter games.

It was not the last-gasp match levelling drop goal from Sean Long that is talked about, but the punch-up that engulfed the game in the last quarter.

Jon Wilkin, then aged just 20, squared up to Wigan’s fiery hooker Terry Newton and a set-to involving most of the players on the field ensued.

The fight escalated when Samoan wing Dom Feaunati clobbered Stephen Wild, who had intervened.

That incensed Wigan skipper Andrew Farrell – and next minute both he and opposite skipper Paul Sculthorpe were toe-to-toe with Paul Wellens the brave man in between breaking it up.

1996 Saints 41 Wigan 26.

If one early Super League game showed immediately that the Wigan dominance was over then it was this second game of the new league era.

Saints rallied from a 16-4 deficit to wallop Wigan.

Danny Arnold grabbed a hat-trick, with the pick of the scores coming from a 50 metre weaving run from Keiron Cunningham giving the Saints wing with a gift offload on the line.

St Helens Star:

1993 Wigan 8 Saints 8.

A packed Central Park crowd of 29,839 in the creaking old stadium and a couple of hundred more on the bridge saw the most epic and heart-breaking of Good Friday clashes.

Mike McClennan’s men had really given it to Wigan that year – but a daft loss at Leigh in the winter had hurt them.

Saints needed to win at Wigan to take the title – but alas neither of Gary Connolly’s or Alan Hunte’s tries could be converted.

The draw effectively meant that Wigan would – a couple of weeks later – finish top on points difference.

To make matters worse – or put the game into perspective – towards the end of the game Saints warhorse prop Kevin Ward suffered a badly broken leg that ended his career.

1986 Saints 18 Wigan 13.

After a dreadful spell Saints had climbed the table to finish with a brilliant run of 13 unbeaten games.

The Good Friday clash saw the volume levels turned up a notch, and the Scaff went off the scale when Kiwi centre Mark Elia plunged over for a late winner.

That win effectively denied Wigan the title, with the trophy – a couple of weeks later – going to Halifax instead.

1981 Oldham 18 Saints 21.

With Wigan relegated down to Division 2 the year before, Saints had to play Boxing Day and Good Friday fixtures against Oldham.

Saints had a late battle of their own to beat the threat of relegation but a late flourish saw them again sneak into the top eight – something they have never failed to do.

The tight win over the Roughyeds at Watersheddings was played out in front of just 2,615.

And as much as we gloated about Wigan’s fate, plenty were glad to see the tradition restored the following year.

On the same day, the Hull derby was marred by fighting and brick throwing – and dubbed Black Friday by some national newspapers.