Forget about Eric Lauaki being an idiot, Wigan completing only two
of 8 sets in the last twenty minutes, or the fact that Warrington's
winning penalty goal, that scraped the cross bar, was taken seven
metres forward from where it should of been - this loss was all
about us. Lack of composure and lack of positivity.
Early second half we were all over Warrington like flies round
Wigan legend "Fat Harry" sunbathing. A 16-12 lead and they are
looking dead. We get a penalty under the posts. That was the time
to go for the kill. It was clear as day. But no we took the easy
two points and just 70 seconds later Lee Briers had intercepted to
make it 18 all.
A Warrington fan tweeted me at the time asking "is that respect
to Warrington or just being negative?" - I think it was far too
much respect. In the whole game really I thought that was a Wire
team that was flagging and hanging in as best they could against a
Wigan pack that was dominating them.
Very worrying though how bad our last twenty minutes
was. It was same at Widnes, but this time we had the experience on
the park and we should be more composed than that. Thomas Leuluai
in particular had a very poor second half and it's these type of
games that highlight why he isn't a scrum half. Don't get me wrong,
I think he one of the games most under-rated players at both club
and test level, but he's a clear as day hooker! He'll do a job at
scrum half, but in the big games, I think he struggles when in that
However, like I said, we should have had the game won
before the last twenty minutes. Wigan showed their intentions early
on by taking a penalty shot after just two minutes from Pat
Richards - which incidentally took him over 2,000 points in his
Wigan career. Didn't really have a problem with that. Early settler
can sometimes be good but you have to concentrate on the restart
and sadly we didn't. Paul Prescott lost the football and 73 seconds
after Pat had slotted his goal, Ryan Atkins had scored in the left
corner, Brett Hodgson converted and we were 6-2 down.
We certainly deserved to take the lead on 18 minutes
when Gareth Hock crashed over from dummy half at close range. We'd
been the side making the half breaks in a tight game and had just
that little bit more territory. Pat converted to make it 8-6 Wigan,
but that would end up being his last goal kick attempt of the game.
He had his thigh/hamstring strapped up whilst the previous Ryan
Atkins try was being video ref checked and a collision with Sam
Tomkins soon after made it worse. Kris Radlinski admitted in the
south stand bar afterwards that Pat should have come off the field
but remained on because we had no back replacements on the
Now I think their is a call for a back on the bench
because with the interchange being reduced from 12 per match to 10,
I think Chris Tuson as an option has become negligible. His stats
seems to bare that out. However the impact in this game from Liam
Farrell and Jeff Lima off the bench was superb I thought.
It was actually the Ginger Pearl's first touch which
led to Wigan's second try. Brett Finch sent him breaking through
"boy wonder" Richard Myler's missed tackle before stepping round
Brett Hodgson. Myler did enough to recover but damage was done.
Quick play the ball and Mike McIlorum was over. The value of a
quality regular kicker was shown though because Josh Charnley
missed the extras, so the lead was just 12-6. It was a vital miss
perhaps, a two score lead at any point in this game would have been
Your thinking now with Farrell and Lima on fire that
we would have a dominating ten minutes to half time but it quickly
went away from us. Wigan let Warrington's restart bounce out and
although we survived that, it gave Warrington a lift and they were
soon in for a soft try out wide on the right from Joel Monaghan.
Hodgson missed the touchline conversion so we still led 12-10.
Wigan's composure continued to lack. Sam Tomkins
hammered the restart out on the full and this continued the pattern
of ourselves putting ourselves on the back foot, rather than the
We did have the best chance of a try before the break
however on 38 minutes when Farrell broke down the left, but he too
showed a total lack of composure by passing far too early to the
supporting Josh Charnley. He failed to draw in Chris Riley and sent
Josh up a cul-de-sac. That in effect wasted the break. Sadly as
well, Wigan conceded a penalty for offside right on half time and
Warrington were able to level the scores with a two pointer.
Wigan came out on fire second half though and had
retaken the lead after just 79 seconds with Richards scoring in the
left corner. Excellent 60 metre break from Sam Tomkins in the build
up also. Josh couldn't convert however so the lead was just 16-12.
You could sense now that we were killing them and I
remain absolutely convinced had we scored another try here, we'd
have gone on to win the game quite comfortably. Something like
30-12. But as I said earlier, on 48 minutes we chose to take a
penalty goal for 18-12 and 70 seconds later Lee Briers intercepts a
Thomas Leuluai pass and we are, in another blink of an eye, level
at 18 all.
In this game you really need to be killing off the opposition
mentally and Wigan yet again in this game had failed to do it. It
was same against Huddersfield in Round 1. We had a brilliant start
that day but never scored, and they rose in confidence from that.
In this game just think - Prescott's knock on at the restart
following our opening penalty, Sam Tomkins kicking out on the full
from a kick off, letting a Warrington kick off go out for their
ball, this intercept from Leuluai - those things all happened
before our bad last twenty minutes. All avoidable and all
contributed to raising Warrington's spirits that for me were
flagging for most of the game.
You can point the finger at the coach if you want but their
isn't really much the coach can do about basic errors that. Paul
Prescott is an experienced player. Sam Tomkins has played over 100
games now, should know better! Thomas Leuluai is also an
experienced player. Wane can bollock them if he wishes, but at the
end of the day, they themselves have to look themselves in the eye
this week and realise that those small margins are going to be the
difference this season between us being near first or nearer fourth
- because this looks a far more competitive league than the
Easy for me to say I know but I remember saying at the time that
"I can't believe how much hard work we are making of this game". On
54 minutes Wigan decided to go for goal again to make it 20-18 and
I still thought we should have been going for the try. It just left
me feeling that inevitable Warrington would claw clear and that's
I don't really need to review the last quarter. It was garbage
from our point of view. Eric Lauaki should go and sit in his room
whilst he gets his inevitable suspension for stupid leading with
the elbow. And yes the winning penalty was placed 7 metres forward
from where it should of been and considering it scraped the bar as
it went over, that was crucial!!! Very, very poor officiating.
Warrington can't complain about lack of luck. Seven Metres gained
on that crucial penalty a week after they scored a crucial try to
win off a seventh tackle. But I tweeted then minutes before the end
of this game that "Wigan had lost this long ago" and that summed it
up for me. We lost that game, Warrington didn't win it. It is a
good loss, if we learn from it, so here's hoping!