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Play Off Match Report: Wigan 44 Catalan 0
Posted by Bilko on September 26 2011 - 09:21

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Wigan (2nd) v Catalan (6th) - Engage Super League XVI Play Off Eliminator.
Sunday 25th September
2011. Kick Off 5:00pm at DW Stadium.

Match Report

Well could anyone have predicted this final score? Their was a massive stench of negativity in the pubs ahead of this game, with not many expecting a victory never mind a 44-0 victory. Those that read my match preview will know that I was one of them but for me Michael Maguire showed last week why he is a top class coach.

The journos are still moaning about his ban on players talking to the media but it worked a treat. In seven days we went from a side that looked unbelievably fatigued to a side that looked like it had found it's hunger for the challenge again. That's what makes Maguire ten times the coach Brian Noble was and it's why we have gone from nearly me to trophy holders. Him and his staff have this side so switched on mentally in a way that Noble (still Super League's most successful coach) could only dream of!

This game was a real hard fought ding-dong battle in the forwards in first twenty minutes and it was a battle that we won, and that really is what won us the game. Ok, Catalan perhaps deserved a try in the opening quarter but they were physically rattled up the middle. Not just by the props, it was to a man with Mike McIlorum and Tommy Leuluai also grafting their hearts out in defence.

Following on from a poor display against St Helens, coach Maguire shuffled his cards with Paul Deacon being dropped. He moved Brett Finch to Stand Off with Leuluai reverting back to Scrum Half and McIlorum starting at hooker. Pat Richards had been a doubt right up till kick off with a calf strain but did play. However Lee Mossop had to withdraw from the bench, literally minutes before kick off, after pulling a hamstring in the warm up. Eamon O'Carroll got the late call to play in his place.

This switch in the halves worked a treat for me. Our kicking game couldn't have got any worse than last week against Saints but this time it was very effective. We continually had Catalan turning round with the chase helping to trap them well inside their own 20.

Wigan showed their intentions with a penalty goal being opted for in just the second minute. Some fans questioned the negativity but I think it was a smart move. Obviously hindsight helps but having had 2-3 weeks of the chips being down, it was a good nerve settler I thought.

The weather had been calm all day but, just before kick off, a swirling wind had developed and the French continually bombed high to try and use it. Wigan in the main dealt with it well except on one occasion in the 9th minute, a bomb that perhaps should have given Catalan the lead.

Scott Dureau put the bomb up but Sam Tomkins failed to collect and Thomas Bosc had an easy touch down. However, video referee Phil Bentham chalked it off after he judged winger Cyril Stacul was "inside the ten" when Sam fumbled. I think it was a bit harsh but by the letter of the law, it was a correct decision. Stacul was at fault I guess for not hanging back because if he had done so, it would have been a try.

The signs of Wigan's dominance in the pack eventually began to tell. Rémi Casty left the field with jelly legs on 15 minutes after a fantastic and clean big hit by McIlorum. You could argue that it was when the interchanges took affect that the game began to turn out way. Paul Prescott, Eamon O'Carroll and Ginger Farrell all came on around this point and they offered far more impetus that the Catalan options of Sébastien Raguin, Michael Simon and Jason Baitieri.

More injury woe for the French followed on 23 minutes when their top try scorer Damien Blanch limped off. His injury coincided with Setaimata Sa being tackled into touch by Pat Richards twenty metres from his own line. Having to say, Sa was a bit of a bastard all afternoon. He was niggling George Carmont all game but King George just kept laughing it off.

Perhaps Catalan were caught off guard re-shuffling the departure of Blanch because Wigan soon scored on the opposite wing with Sam Tomkins long cut out pass sending Baby Josh Charnley over for a walk in. Pat failed to convert so the lead was just 6-0.

One of the best things a rugby league side can do is follow up a try with another on the next set - Wigan did just that! A good break from Joel Tomkins down the right put Catalan on the back foot and a couple of tackles later, Ryan Hoffman put in a perfectly timed run onto Brett Finch's pass. Close to the posts meant an easy Pat conversion and a 12-0 lead after 28 minutes.

Catalan had a couple of opportunities before half time. They were a bit unlucky again when Dureau had passed forward whilst sending Lopini Paea over. Soon after though, Wigan had a shot at a drop goal but Finch's effort sailed wide. That would have been a rare one. Wigan have only kicked one drop goal in the past two seasons under Maguire.

Only 47 seconds remained when Wigan fed into a scrum half way inside their own half, but they showed how clinical they can be by scoring a try right on the hooter for the second week in a row. This time it was all created by a bit of magic from Leuluai. Good offload from Prescott gave him the ball and he chipped over the top of three defenders, collected and sent Farrell under the sticks. Excellent support play from Ginger, he is brilliant a supporting the break or half break. Only 3 seconds remained when he touched down and an easy conversion for Pat left the half time score at 18-0.

It was just Catalan suffering with injuries. Joel Tomkins didn't make it onto the field for the second half after suffering a dead leg. Wigan chose to take precaution on that one with Chris Tuson coming off the bench for him with Hoffman switching to right centre for the second half.

The first twenty minutes of the second half, mirrored the first twenty of the first half. It was another ding-dong forwards battle and it was all about who cracked first. The only scoring came from a second penalty for Pat that made it 20-0.

You could sense that one more Wigan try would kill off Catalan, and so it proved when it came on the hour. We should have been given a try four minutes before then though when a brilliant passing move got Pat Richards over in the corner, but it was disallowed for an apparent obstruction by a dummy runner. I've made my point about those kind of video referee decisions before. They continue to penalise players for making a dummy run - absolutely garbage! It's pathetic. I mean, I'm sure many people reading this will have played the game at some level, how often do you get up after a try has been scored against you and think, "hmmm I was obstructed there?". Collisions in a passing move like that is just inevitable. I mean surely if your an attacker running through your eye is on the ball, not on defenders is in front of you? Maybe I'm not explaining my argument well, but it bloody annoys me. Especially because in non televised games you hardly see obstructions given, yet it happens almost every weekend on tv games. Pathetic!

Anyway, the try that was given on the hour mark. Sam put in a grubber towards the left wing and Clint Greenshields was coming across to shepherd it into touch. However, Pat got a boot to it and kicked inside for Carmont to touch down. Pat then converted off the touchline to make it 26-0 and a five try lead was always going to be too much.

Catalan were now well beaten and it showed with them gifting us our next two tries. First, Thomas Bosc threw a gift intercept which Finch gratefully took under the posts on 63 minutes then two minutes later Baby Josh was rewarded for sheer effort. A grubber was put in by Sam and Charnley sprinted towards the loose ball whilst Stacul was very lazy in his effort. That extra effort created a fumble and Sam Tomkins scooped up to go under the sticks himself. Excellent play from Josh, he puts in that extra effort so often and arguably that's why he has been the regular right winger this season and not Darrell Goulding? Pat converted both tries, which now made it 38-0 with 14 minutes to go.

It was now looking like Wigan would rack up quite a few tries in the latter stages but only one more followed. Good long pass from Finch was perfect to send Hansen over the line. In Deacon's absence we needed a big game from Finch tonight and he for me was our man of the match. Within the ten metre area he is all class at finding the perfect pass to get someone in. Pat converted again to leave the final score at 44-0.

So, Wigan now face St Helens again in the semi finals next week. Plenty of renewed optimism now. I think if we play like we did in this game, we shall win! Bring it on!

Reaction to the Action

Michael Maguire: "It's definitely pleasing to get this win. After last week when we didn't play to our capabilities, it was good to see the boys aim up. We had a look in the week at the areas we need to improve on and there are some more where we need to kick on. Lee (Mossop) got a niggling hamstring problem. He was fine yesterday at training but unfortunately he caught it in the warm-up. It's a great effort (by Pat Richards to reach 2,000 points in his Wigan Career). He was struggling before the game with a minor bump on his calf but he came through really well and it was good to see him get some points on the back end of it."

Catalan Coach Trent Robinson: "There are no fairytales in footie and that showed tonight. We were on a bit of a wave. We've worked hard for what we've got and the result tonight doesn't take away from that. They've put some pride back in the jersey and in the town and also in the country. I think there should be a pat on the backs for what they've done this year. We like to play a similar style to Warrington, upbeat and fast, but you could have all but short of murdered a guy and you wouldn't have got a play-the-ball penalty (from referee Steve Ganson). I don't understand how you can fluctuate within yourself as a referee. Obviously from week to week, the RFL and the referees are not sure about the ruck and how to referee it. It fluctuates too much, there is too much inconsistency and there is no doubt that suited Wigan tonight. They are the best in that area. They control the ruck and they wrestle well. They physically dominated us and came up with some nice tries. When you are on the front foot like that, you sometimes get the bounce of the ball. They played some nice footie to run away with it at the end, which was disappointing."

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position St Helens 1
1 Sam Tomkins Full Back Clint Greenshields 1
25 Josh Charnley Winger Damien Blanch 2
12 Joel Tomkins Centre Setaimata Sa 4
4 George Carmont Centre Daryl Millard 18
5 Pat Richards Winger Cyril Stacul 5
17 Brett Finch Stand Off Thomas Bosc 6
7 Thomas Leuluai Scrum Half Scott Dureau 7
15 Jeff Lima Prop Jamal Fakir 22
9 Mike McIlorum Hooker Ian Henderson 9
10 Andy Coley Prop Lopini Paea 23
11 Harrison Hansen 2nd Row Steve Menzies 11
16 Ryan Hoffman 2nd Row Rémi Casty 10
13 Sean O'Loughlin L.Forward Grégory Mounis 13
-
14 Paul Prescott Substitute Sébastien Raguin 12
20 Eamon O'Carroll Substitute Michael Simon 20
22 Liam Farrell Substitute Jason Baitieri 24
23 Chris Tuson Substitute Eloi Pellissier 26
- Michael Maguire Coach Trent Robinson -

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 44 --- Catalan Dragons 0
Tries (7):
Josh Charnley
Ryan Hoffman
Liam Farrell
George Carmont
Brett Finch
Sam Tomkins
Harrison Hansen
--- Tries (0):
Goals:
Pat Richards 8/9
--- ---

Scoring and Incident Pattern

02mins:13 Wigan 02 Catalan 00 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (1/1)
24mins:33 Wigan 06 Catalan 00 Try: Josh Charnley
- Wigan 06 Catalan 00 P.Richards Missed Conversion (1/2)
27mins:26 Wigan 10 Catalan 00 Try: Ryan Hoffman
- Wigan 12 Catalan 00 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/3)
39mins:57 Wigan 16 Catalan 00 Try: Liam Farrell
- Wigan 18 Catalan 00 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/4)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 18 Catalan Dragons 00
48mins:26 Wigan 20 Catalan 00 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (4/5)
59mins:39 Wigan 24 Catalan 00 Try: George Carmont
- Wigan 26 Catalan 00 Conversion: Pat Richards (5/6)
63mins:16 Wigan 30 Catalan 00 Try: Brett Finch
- Wigan 32 Catalan 00 Conversion: Pat Richards (6/7)
65mins:50 Wigan 36 Catalan 00 Try: Sam Tomkins
- Wigan 38 Catalan 00 Conversion: Pat Richards (7/8)
73mins:58 Wigan 42 Catalan 00 Try: Harrison Hansen
- Wigan 44 Catalan 00 Conversion: Pat Richards (8/9)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 44 Catalan Dragons 00

Video Highlights

Top 5 Wigan Players as voted on our Message Board

Man of the Match: Sean O'Loughlin
2nd: Brett Finch 3rd: Mike McIlorum 4th: Thomas Leuluai 5th: Josh Charnley

Referee

Steve Ganson

Penalties Conceded

Wigan 6 Catalan 8

Video Referee

Phil Bentham

Milestones Achieved

Mike McIlorum made his 100th Wigan Appearance in this match.

Match Attendance

6.790

Weather

Dry - Swirling Wind.

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