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Wigan Evening Post 18th Man Column - 10th March

The start to our season was on balanced scales before Friday’s trip to Castleford. A good win there and those scales would go up in favour of some reasonable positivity about our start to the season.

Unfortunately the loss saw those scales tip the other way and the manner of the defeat at Castleford on Friday was deeply wounding to be honest. That was the kind of show we witnessed early on in 2006 when we won just two of our first sixteen games that year and I hope the rot is halted quickly against Hull this week.

What that showing on Friday did most was empathise clearly the problems that have beset our whole season so far. We are second worst, behind only Salford, for conceding penalties and in terms of making metres, we are rock bottom!! That’s right, worst in the league for metres made!

Of course four games isn’t a huge sample but that is a toxic combination if those two stats continue. Add in that our goal kick success is only at 50% (8 out of 16 attempts) and you just cannot expect to compete with those kind of returns.

From the side that played at Castleford though, eleven of the seventeen played in the Grand Final just last October. Let’s not forget Wigan were phenomenally good in the run up to Old Trafford, so surely we can’t just turn so bad overnight?

Or was that good form in September just down to the fact that we never left home in the month before the Grand Final? I mean, it’s funny. I wrote 18th man articles a couple of times last year about our poor big game record at the DW but that was certainly firebombed when we beat Leeds, Huddersfield and Warrington twice at home at the back end of last season.

We actually now have a record of winning 14 of our last 15 Super League home games would you believe. After a wounding game at Cas, that is a stat to claw back some confidence from, but isn’t it weird how we’ve gone from a team that was once so great away from home, yet patchy at the DW, to now the total opposite?

Wigan can’t just rely on home comforts to turn around this bad start though. I mean we beat Huddersfield at home but it hardly a performance of potential champions, which is what the standards of a club like Wigan should always be judged on. We’ve been way of that so far and I’m intrigued to see how much improvement we’ll get to see on Friday.

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