The fact that Wigan carry Britain's main hope of success in the Visa World
Club Championship was put into sharp perspective yesterday.
annihilated by a superb Aussie outfit who although were in a different
class have failed to qualify for the next stage of the competition.
The Warriors, who will play Hunter Mariners at home in the
quarter-final in October, disappointed a large crowd who after last week's
defeat of Canterbury were looking for more Aussie blood.
The Raiders were a far different prospect with Ricky Stuart and Laurie
Daley combining brilliantly at half-back to pose a threat that the
Warriors could not contain. The defence took a stanglehold on Wigan and
with their attacking options the Raiders had the power and speed in the
three-quarters which left the home side clutching at thin air.
Coach Eric Hughes summed up the Aussie performance when he said: "They
are a quality side and produced some superb rugby.
"But I was disappointed with the manner of our display in the second
half when they scored four tries from our mistakes. We wanted to put on a
show in front of our spectators but didn't. "I think the fact that we
don't play against sides of this quality every week showed. When they
break they seem to take the right option while we don't."
Despite the heavy defeat, for much of the game Wigan were in
contention, until a disastrous final 30 minutes.
They made a poor start when Noa Nadruku nipped over after only two
minutes and Dave Furner goaled but after quarter of an hour were on level
terms when Simon Haughton burst his way through a couple of tackles to
score and Andy Farrell added the goal. Soon after a Farrell penalty put
But Canberra quickly hit back and Wigan's inability to defend close to
their line was quickly exposed when Daley chipped ahead for Albert Fulavi
to touchdown. Ken Nagas added another try before 19-years-old Royston
Lightning, only called up this week, nipped in at the corner.
Farrell narrowed the gap to 10 points just before the break with
another penalty and Wigan came out after the break firing on all
cylinders. They put the Canberra defence under intense pressure but never
really looked like scoring another try and when Ruben Wiki evaded two
tacklers to score in the 53rd minute and Lightning added the goal the game
It was then exhibition stuff as the Raiders romped home with further
tries by Lightning, Ben Kennedy, Naga and Jason Burnham with Lightning
adding another four goals.
One of Wigan's few plus points was the form of youngster Darryl Cardiss
who produced a brave display at full-back in place of the injured Henry
Paul. WIGAN: Cardiss, Robinson, Connolly, Radlinski, Johnson A, Smith,
Murdock, Cowie, Cassidy, O'Connor, Haughton, Lester, Farrell. Subs:
Holgate (for Cowie 27), Johnson P (for Murdock 35), Tallec (for Lester
55). Cowie (for Holgate 65), Hansen (for O'Connor 48).