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Match Report: Crusaders 16 Wigan 48
Posted by Bilko on May 02 2011 - 05:35

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Crusaders v Wigan Warriors - Engage Super League XVI Round 13.
Sunday 1st May 2011. Kick Off 3:00pm Racecourse Ground, Wrexham.

Match Report

Well this was a pretty routine victory for Wigan, who extended their unbeaten run to four matches whilst also going joint top of the table for the first time this season.

The contest was over by half time with Crusaders really struggling all afternoon until James Child started to show them great sympathy it seemed in the final 25 minutes. Now you can read back at my match reports, which I've been doing on and off since 2002 and regularly since 2006, and it's very rare that I've stuck it to the referee but I'm sorry I thought James Child was very poor today, and I thinking that even before the last 25 minutes. The fact he exited the field to a chorus of "the referee's a wanker" from a set of Wigan supporters that had witnessed their side win 48-16, I would suggest, says an awful lot about his performance.

Speaking of the Wigan following, it was huge again today. 5,037 was the attendance and I reckon 3,500 must have been Wigan fans. We certainly vastly outnumbered the home support.

Coach Michael Maguire was forced to make two changes to the side that won at Wakefield on Easter Monday with Darrell Goulding replacing Joel Tomkins (calf strain) at right centre whilst Chris Tuson replaced Harrison Hansen (minor knee ligament) in the back row. He also chose to stick with starting Brett Finch at Stand Off and using Paul Deacon off the bench.

The pitch was bathed in sunshine but their was a very cold breeze which left fans who hadn't taken a jacket or jumper very cold in the shade in the away stand. But they were warmed up by some excellent tries on the pitch from Wigan.

First try came in the third minute and it was a Pat Richards trademark special. Brett Finch put the bomb up to the right corner and Pat plucked it out of air and somehow kept in play to score. It took some scoring let me tell you and then his conversion off the touchline was given despite being miles wide of the target. It was a perfect angle for me and it clearly missed. Only excuse really is that the touch judges were shielding their eyes from the sun. Anyway you take any luck you get in sport and a 6-0 lead very early on look pretty ominous for the Welsh side.

For the next quarter of an hour or so Wigan kept trying to repeat the tactic of kicking towards Pat Richards but his opposite winger Stuart Reardon was beginning to cope really well with the threat. Crusaders were looking really poor in attack though but defensively they were not really buckling early on, however as the half wore on the gaps did start to appear.

Second Wigan try came on 20 minutes when Sam Tomkins aimed towards the right and sent Josh Charnley racing in the corner from 20 metres out. Pat converted to make it 12-0.

Five minutes later Sam scored himself. He was about 25 metres out and he seemed to be trapped with a wall of defenders in front of him, but he was having a bit of jig and all of a sudden he found a gap which saw him going on an arching run to score right under the posts. Easy conversion made it 18-0.

Another two minutes later, the fourth try came. Paul Prescott provided the pass and Jeff Lima looked so shocked to see a huge hole in front of him that allowed him to break clear from fourty metres out, he drew in full back Clinton Schifcofske, and sent the supporting Thomas Leuluai under the posts. Another easy conversion for Pat made it 24-0 after 27 minutes.

The fifth try came on the stroke of half time. About ten metres out, Sam Tomkins had offloaded to Sean O'Loughlin who in turn sent Finch through a huge hole and he literally had no defenders to beat in scoring under the posts. Another easy kick for Pat sent Wigan into the sheds with a 30-0 lead.

The procession of easy Wigan tries continued just three minutes into the second half when Leuluai sent Charnley breaking towards the right corner, but the defence was so soft he was able to round it off closer to the sticks than it should have been. Still wasn't an easy kick for Pat but he slotted over his sixth conversion of the game to make it 36-0.

I was hoping Wigan would keep the opposition scoreless for the second game in a row but Crusaders finally got on the scoreboard in the 55th minute with a neat try in the left corner from Gareth Thomas, but Schifcofske's kick was wide of the target.

Wigan soon responded on 59 minutes with an excellent try from Mike McIlorum. 25 metres out he got the ball in the middle of the field and just darted through a gap to score near the right corner. Pat's kicking was on fire today as he slotted another over to make it 42-4.

In the final quarter Wigan really started to look tired as James Child was giving Crusaders call after call after call. This allowed Crusaders to claim two more tries in quick succession. First Michael Witt scored then Thomas, who was now showing up on their right, broke from 40 metres out to send Stuart Reardon over but it was a clear knock on for me, if not a forward pass. It was bang in front of us but despite a referee, a touch judge and an in goal judge the try was awarded.

Schifcofske had converted both tries and although the game was dead, with Wigan having a 42-16 lead with 13 minutes to go, Crusaders were now buoyant against the tired defence. Wigan dug deep though to deny them any further scores and got reward for that two minutes from time.

That reward came in the shape of a second try for Sam Tomkins. He was about 60 metres out and was running along the defensive line. All of a sudden he shot through a gap down the left wing and raced all the way to score our eight and final try of the contest.

Pat was still on the field but the final conversion was given to Sean O'Loughlin who was celebrating his 250th Wigan appearance today. Only Kris Radlinski, Andy Farrell, Terry O'Connor and Mick Cassidy have made that many appearances in the summer era so congratulations to him for that. He will get a well deserved testimonial when that comes round either next year or the year after that. Lockers was also raised aloft by the players as they took the congratulations of the Wigan hoards at full time but he just about avoided being given the bumps.

Like I said, towards the back end of the game Wigan looked tired from their Easter exploits and perhaps the Challenge Cup next weekend is a perfect opportunity to rest a couple of players. Don't want to disrespect Barrow but I would love to see Dom Crosby and Joe Mellor for example get a chance next week to show what they have got.

Overall we should be happy with the performances in the last few weeks. With Harlequins and Hull KR to play next, both at home, the rest of May now gives us a real shot of possibly being clear top of the table before June comes round and we launch into a difficult run of games against Catalan, Castleford, St Helens, Huddersfield, Leeds and Castleford again in a midweek. For now I will happily settle for us being joint top of the table whilst still having that game in hand.

Reaction to the Action

Michael Maguire: "I thought our front row were the ones who put their hands up and gave us the hard metres today. I'm glad Sam (Tomkins) is on our team. He works hard week in and week out and the team really enjoy playing in the same side as him. It is great to have him but we have a lot of quality among the team. Everyone across the park played well and it was a great team effort. It was great to see the boys performing for (Sean O'Loughlin). He is great for the team and to play 250 games for Wigan is a great achievement."

Crusaders coach Iestyn Harris: "I thought Wigan as a side, in the first half, were clinical and fantastic. We were ultimately soft and it was like a Rottweiler with a bone. They didn't release it at all. We scored points at the back end of the second half but ultimately we were soft and that is why we were behind 30-0 at half-time. I thought we had turned the corner (in winning against Huddersfield Giants on Good Friday) and I thought we had some physical presence. I thought we had worked on that as a group but in the first 40 minutes, collectively as a group, we were not good."

Team Sheets

- Crusaders Position Wigan 1
1 Clinton Schifcofske Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
5 Stuart Reardon Winger Josh Charnley 25
3 Tony Martin Centre Darrell Goulding 2
2 Gareth Thomas Centre George Carmont 4
27 Jordan Tansey Winger Pat Richards 5
6 Michael Witt Stand Off Brett Finch 17
17 Rhys Hanbury Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
10 Mark Bryant Prop Andy Coley 10
19 Lloyd White Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
16 Ben Flower Prop Lee Mossop 21
11 Hep Cahill 2nd Row Ryan Hoffman 16
12 Jason Chan 2nd Row Liam Farrell 22
13 Frank Winterstein L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
-
7 Jarrod Sammut Substitute Paul Deacon 6
8 Ryan O'Hara Substitute Paul Prescott 14
20 Gil Dudson Substitute Jeff Lima 15
21 Paul Johnson Substitute Chris Tuson 23
- Iestyn Harris Coach Michael Maguire -

Score Sheet

Crusaders 16 --- Wigan Warriors 48
Tries (3):
Gareth Thomas
Michael Witt
Stuart Reardon
--- Tries (8):
Pat Richards
Josh Charnley 2
Sam Tomkins 2
Thomas Leuluai
Brett Finch
Mike McIlorum
Goals:
Clinton Schifcokske 2/3
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 7/7
Sean O'Loughlin 1/1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

3rd Minute Crusaders 00 Wigan 04 Try: Pat Richards
- Crusaders 00 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
20th Minute Crusaders 00 Wigan 10 Try: Josh Charnley
- Crusaders 00 Wigan 12 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/2)
25th Minute Crusaders 00 Wigan 16 Try: Sam Tomkins
- Crusaders 00 Wigan 18 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/3)
27th Minute Crusaders 00 Wigan 22 Try: Thomas Leuluai
- Crusaders 00 Wigan 24 Conversion: Pat Richards (4/4)
40th Minute Crusaders 00 Wigan 28 Try: Brett Finch
- Crusaders 00 Wigan 30 Conversion: Pat Richards (5/5)
Half Time Crusaders 00 Wigan Warriors 30
43rd Minute Crusaders 00 Wigan 34 Try: Josh Charnley (2)
- Crusaders 00 Wigan 36 Conversion: Pat Richards (6/6)
55th Minute Crusaders 04 Wigan 36 Try: Gareth Thomas
- Crusaders 04 Wigan 36 C.Schifcofske Missed Conversion (0/1)
59th Minute Crusaders 04 Wigan 40 Try: Mike McIlorum
- Crusaders 04 Wigan 42 Conversion: Pat Richards (7/7)
64th Minute Crusaders 08 Wigan 42 Try: Michael Witt
- Crusaders 10 Wigan 42 Conversion: Clinton Schifcofske (1/2)
67th Minute Crusaders 14 Wigan 42 Try: Stuart Reardon
- Crusaders 16 Wigan 42 Conversion: Clinton Schifcofske (2/3)
78th Minute Crusaders 16 Wigan 46 Try: Sam Tomkins (2)
- Crusaders 16 Wigan 48 Conversion: Sean O'Loughlin (1/1)
Full Time Crusaders 16 Wigan Warriors 48

Video Highlights

Top 5 Wigan Players as voted on our Message Board

Man of the Match: Sam Tomkins
2nd: Thomas Leuluai 3rd: Lee Mossop 4th: Sean O'Loughlin 5th: Jeff Lima

Referee

James Child

Penalties Conceded

Crusaders 6 Wigan 8

Match Attendance

5,037

Match Milestones

Sean O'Loughlin made his 250th Wigan appearance.

Weather

Sunny but a cold breeze left us shivering in the shade of the stand.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 16 Round 13

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Warrington Wolves 13 9 0 4 457 205 +252 18
2 Huddersfield Giants 13 9 0 4 343 201 +142 18
3 St Helens 13 8 2 3 376 250 +126 18
4 Wigan Warriors 12 8 2 2 312 209 +103 18
5 Castleford Tigers 12 7 1 4 337 266 +71 15
6 Leeds Rhinos 13 7 1 5 372 312 +60 15
7 Catalan Dragons 13 7 1 5 286 275 +11 15
8 Hull FC 13 5 1 7 296 292 +4 11
9 Salford City Reds 13 5 0 8 292 422 -130 10
10 Harlequins 13 4 1 8 290 414 -124 9
11 Bradford Bulls 13 4 1 8 266 420 -154 9
12 Hull Kingston Rovers 13 4 0 9 311 374 -63 8
13 Wakefield Wildcats* 13 5 0 8 236 374 -138 6
14 Crusaders* 13 3 0 10 268 428 -160 2

*Crusaders and Wakefield both deducted 4 points for entering administration.

Round 13 Results
Fri 29 Apr Castleford Tigers 6 Leeds Rhinos 48 9,860
Sat 30 Apr Catalan Dragons 13 Huddersfield Giants 12 7,825
Sat 30 Apr Harlequins 16 Salford City Reds 34 1,957
Sun 1 May Bradford Bulls 14 Warrington Wolves 58 14,134
Sun 1 May Crusaders 16 Wigan Warriors 48 5,037
Sun 1 May Wakefield Wildcats 26 Hull Kingston Rovers 24 7,283
Mon 2 May Hull FC 24 St Helens 24 11,933

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