Well the talk after this game was about Wigan being poor. I'm not
sure we were that poor! Obviously conceding thirty points in
defence is disappointing but this was not the London Broncos that
had looked dire in losing it's opening five matches. They clearly
had got a huge lift from beating Castleford 42-16 at home last
weekend and came here full of spark, vigour and enthusiasm.
Broncos were well led by good combination from half backs Michael
Witt and Craig Gower, and I actually take the view that we did well
to win this game because I thought London were excellent on the
day. At 18-6 down we could have collapsed in a heap but instead we
dug deep, scored some good tries, and got a hard earned two points.
After the Widnes debacle last week, coach Wane recalled Sam
Tomkins, Pat Richards, Thomas Leuluai, Sean O'Loughlin and Liam
Farrell with Matty Russell, Anthony Gelling, Joe Mellor, Logan
Tomkins and Tom Spencer dropping out. George Carmont and Paul
Prescott also returned from injury in place of Lee Mossop and Jack
Amazingly it took Wigan a full 8 minutes to get possession of
the football in this contest and that early Broncos pressure had to
tell. It was naivety really from Josh Charnley that put us right on
the back foot. A bomb had gone out towards the left and it was
going nowhere really but Josh went to collect the ball in the air
and subsequently got bundled into touch. You could see that coming
a mile off. Soon after that Michael Witt squeezed in the right
corner where the defensive line just wasn't set. He then nailed a
touchline conversion to give them a 6-0 lead.
Wigan finally got the football as the clock ticked into the 9th
minute and they were soon on the score sheet to level it up. Brett
Finch scored it from a standing start with a diagonal run through
the middle of the Broncos defence. Pat converted for 6-6.
Sat there now thinking, here we go, we'll take full control of
this one now, but London had other ideas. They scored the games
next two tries. First on 18 minutes good passing from Gower and
Luke Dorn saw Michael Robertson score in the left corner. Then on
28 minutes Dan Sarginson mugged Sam Tomkins to get over from close
range. Witt converted both tries to give them an 18-6 lead.
The bottom line for Wigan here was that they were playing at a
slow lethargic pace. These kind of games at home, when the away
stand is shut, are always difficult ones to play if you are not
setting the tone and that's really why Wigan found themselves 18-6
down. After that score they clearly stepped up the pace and score
three tries before half time to take the lead.
First, on 31 minutes, Finch's offload out of a tackle to Jeff
Lima allowed him to send Gareth Hock crashing through a missed
tackle by Chris Bailey. A penalty soon after the restart got Wigan
up field again and this time it was Sam Tomkins who found Lima with
an offload before Darrell Goulding showed good pace to get in the
right corner. Then on the next set, brilliant footwork from Sam got
him clear through. Although the defence recovered somewhat, they
never got him tackled and hands left from Finch and O'Loughlin
allowed George Carmont to steam over in the left corner. Pat
converted all three tries to give Wigan a 24-18 half time lead.
Into the second half and Wigan scored pretty quickly to extend
that lead. Excellent offload from Hock got Richards in and with his
conversion the lead was 30-18. Pat was now down to just 5 points
needed for 2,000 in his Wigan career and with 38 minutes to go it
was odds on that the landmark would be reached today, but he would
end up stranded in the end on 1,999 points.
Your thinking now whether Wigan could repeat the clinical second
half job they produced against Catalan in the previous home match
but London hit back just four minutes later to keep Wigan sweating.
Gower took advantage of a bad missed tackle to burst up the middle
and it allowed him to send ex Wigan Chris Melling over. Witt's
conversion made it 30-24 and still game on.
London were all over us after that and we did well not to allow
them to level the scores. I would have feared for us had they
scored next but thankfully we soaked up pressure before taking
advantage of a London error which gave us a scrum feed ten metres
out on 56 minutes. Finch was the capitalist with another lovely
jinking step getting him chiming at the line. It took some
finishing but he had the power to see off the last ditch tackling.
Pat conversion made it 36-24.
Then on 64 minutes came a moment that highlights the difference
between a good half back and one of sheer genius. Wigan received an
offside penalty twenty metres from their own line and London ambled
back expecting the kick to touch. Sam Tomkins though had other
ideas. He tapped the penalty and had raced past the whole Broncos
defensive line before they had even noticed what was happening. It
was totally embarrassing for them. They were absolutely mugged. He
completed an unopposed diagonal 78 metre dash under the posts and
really it was a try that was needed because the game still hadn't
felt comfortable. Pat's conversion made it 42-24.
London still left Wigan sweating when Witt scored his second try
from an intercept pass thrown by Leuluai on 71 minutes but that
proved to be the final score of the contest, which Wigan had won
So the 30 points conceded will be a bit of a concern but to be
honest I think that was a performance in which we had more than
half an eye on the Warrington match next Friday. We always looked
like we were playing well within ourselves and the fact Warrington
had a similar scruffy win suggests that even more to me. It'll be
totally different on Friday with a packed house inside the DW.
Bring it on!