First of all I'd like to offer my condolences to the family and
friends of Mark Evans. He was a Wigan supporter who sadly suffered
a heart attack in the South Stand just before this game was about
to start. Rest in Peace!
For a large part of this game I think
Wigan continued to show the tired lethargy that had dogged them in
the visit to Warrington last week. Very sloppy stuff with ball in
hand and little punch forward in the attack. However our goal line
defence was much better, but then again we were facing one of the
league's worst attacks.
Following Gareth Hock's deserved suspension, it was welcome news
to see Chris Tuson returning having missed the last 7 matches.
Eamon O'Carroll also came on to the bench with Andy Coley sitting
this game out, not sure why?
Crusaders were playing their last Super League game after
withdrawing their licence to compete back in July. This last game
saw a 600 strong following from Wales with many having taken part
in a "Save the Cru" charity walk for kids with cancer. They away
fans sat in the corner of the East Stand though with the normal
away end (the North Stand) housing a strong presence of Wigan fans
in a deal that was done with local businesses including Heinz.
Pre match saw a great atmosphere as the club paraded a whole
host of ex players with this game being this "heritage day"
The lethargy I talked about on the field really started from the
off though. Ok, they took the lead in the fourth minute with a try
that was well taken by Brett Finch, converted by Pat Richards, but
for a long time this game was boring. News of Warrington racking up
points away at Hull, to wrap up the league leaders shield, didn't
In fairness though Crusaders were putting in a big effort and
deserved their equalising try in the 21st minute. Lloyd White sent
Peter Lupton over from close range with Clinton Schifcofske adding
The match really was dull and needed a spark from somewhere. Who
else was going to provide it than Sam Tomkins? He took a quick tap
penalty and broke through a poor tackle attempt from ex Wigan
player Paul Johnson. Sam was eventually trapped going down the left
but passing back towards the right, Tuson, Finch and Joel Tomkins
all got a touch before Josh Charnley been another poor tackle
attempt from Johnson to score under the posts. Pat converted for
12-6 after 31 minutes/
Another try came three minutes later with some super passing.
Lovely pass out the back door from Finch to Sean O'Loughlin and he
sent Ryan Hoffman racing through a gap to score. Pat's conversion
made it 18-6 and that was how it stayed until half time.
You sensed a quick try second half would kill Crusaders
enthusiasm and we did just that! A great try from Ginger Farrell
this one. Taking the play the ball he put in a superb fend to
flatten Lincoln Withers onto his arse before Paul Johnson was again
tackling like a man with no arms. Farrell wasn't done, he then beat
Schifcofske and White before crashing down on the line. He had a
great game I felt Farrell, really lifted this side from it's flat
start. Pat converted for 24-6.
The game was won in reality and the last 30 minutes saw Wigan go
through the motions. They added three more tries though. First on
51 minutes, Crusaders were guilty of standing off some more great
footwork from Sam Tomkins and he sent Charnley over for his second
try in the right corner. Again though, pathetic tackling attempts,
this time from Elliott Kear.
Four minutes later, Pat Richards took advantage of poor defence.
Stuart Reardon was guilty this time. He went far too high on
Carmont and he just offloaded to Pat who had too much strength for
The final Wigan try came on 64 minutes. This was a neat try
finished by Joel Tomkins after some great switch passing between
Paul Prescott, Paul Deacon and Finch. Lovely stuff!
All three of those tries were converted by Pat to ensure he
finished with a 100% conversion rate. The only other score came
from Crusaders and it was a gift 60 metre interception from Jarrod
Sammut who took advantage of a shocking pass from Finch. Amazingly
despite scoring under the posts, Jason Chan missed the extra from
bang in front. That left the final score a comfortable 42-10 to
So a win is a win and this was perhaps always going to be a
training session type match but for me, Wigan have a lot of
improving to do before facing St Helens in the play offs next week.