Do not, I urge you, use the greeting Happy Easter
in Wigan for the foreseeable future. Following on the heels of their
Good Friday defeat by St Helens, losing to a Warrington team without
either a coach or a Super League point at kick-off has made it an
unforgettable holiday for all the wrong reasons.
Warrington, whose coach, John Dorahy, resigned on
Saturday after a disastrous start to the season, seized gleefully on
Wigan's shortcomings at Wilderspool to build up a match-winning lead in
the first half.
A late Wigan charge that brought them three tries
in six minutes could only briefly obscure that this was their worst
performance for many years.
Without the injured Henry Paul and Gary Connolly,
Wigan were truly dreadful as Warrington, spearheaded by their Kiwi
centre, Nigel Vagana, took control with an ease that must have surprised
even them. Vagana got the first of his hat-trick of tries after only
five minutes, following a quick tap penalty when Wigan were caught
A booming cross-field kick from Andy Farrell opened
the way for Danny Ellison to equalise, but that was Wigan's only bright
spot of the half. A penalty stupidly conceded by Terry O'Connor on the
last tackle allowed Warrington to pile on the pressure and score through
The Wigan coach, Eric Hughes, said his side had
made "every mistake in the book" in the first half. Their next cost them
another try, when Vagana picked off Sean Long's pass to go 50 yards and
Before the break, an audacious long pass from the
16-year-old scrum half, John Duffy, caught Wigan groping for the
interception and Kelly Shelford went through the gap to score.
When Shelford's pass sent Vagana straight through
two Wigan tackles for his third try, Warrington were 24 points ahead,
and relatively unconcerned when Andy Johnson took the ball from Tony
Smith to go in for Wigan.
The arrival of Craig Murdock generated some belated
Wigan purpose. He supported Johnson's break to score the first of his
side's swift trio of tries, before Ellison and Kris Radlinski both
chased kicks to score.
With nine minutes left, it was on the cards for
Wigan to stage a remarkable escape. But then Shelford was credited with
a drop goal despite Doc Murray's insistence that he had touched the ball
in flight and, in the last minute, Gareth Davies broke through and Lee
Penny arrived to make victory safe.
"It was no stroke of genius," Warrington's stand-in
coach, Paul Cullen, said of their transformation. "It was a guts call
and the players responded to it."
Warrington: Penny; Henare, Roper, Vagana, Forster;
Shelford, Duffy; Stevens, Hulme, Chambers, Mann, Tatupu, Sculthorpe.
Substitutes used: Rudd, Davies, Carney.
Wigan: Murray; Ellison, A Johnson, Radlinski,
Robinson; Long, Smith; Cowie, Cassidy, O'Connor, Haughton, Tallec,
Farrell. Substitutes used: Hall, Murdock, Holgate.
Referee: R Smith (Castleford).
Warrington Wolves 35
Wigan Warriors 24
Nigel Vagana (3)
Danny Ellison (2)
|Jon Roper (5)
||Andy Farrell (2)