Well the bold reality of this game was that it took just 24 minutes
for Wigan to seal the result and go top of the table for 22 hours
at least. In that time we had built up a 26-0 and despite Rovers
never giving up after that early Wigan rally, this game was always
well within our pocket I felt.
Basically we killed them for pace
out wide with 6 of our 7 tries coming from the back three of Josh
Charnley, Sam Tomkins and Anthony Gelling. Charnley in fact claimed
his second home Sky televised hat-trick of the season after he
matched the tally he got against Leeds back in February. That
leaves him five clear as top Super League try scorer with 16 tries
in 13 Super League matches this year.
For me it was Gelling however who stole the show. He was unlucky
to not claim a hat-trick himself and was showing great enthusiasm
all night, running the ball back in strongly and at one point he
was confident enough to nudge Tommy out of dummy half.
This match though will be remembered for the broken leg suffered
by referee Phil Bentham in the 17th minute of the contest. Rovers
full back Shannon McDonnell ran into him and he didn't see the
collision coming. His leg wasn't ready for the weight and it just
basically buckled beneath him. He was clearly in agony and left the
field on a stretcher, apparently in good spirits. I don't know if
its true, but I did hear he laughed at being applauded off the
field for once? Anyway it isn't nice to see anyone do that so I
wish him well with his recovery.
Early on in this game Wigan were getting numerous penalties from
Bentham. We came out with a fast paced attitude, compared to a slow
and lethargic Robins response.
It was from an offside penalty that Wigan took the lead on 5
minutes. Swinging right - Brett Finch, Tommy Leuluai, Sean
O'Loughlin, Darrell Goulding and Sam Tomkins all got a touch before
Charnley was sent in the right corner. O'Loughlin's excellent bat
on over the top of his head was vital to the move. Josh couldn't
convert off the touchline though - 4-0.
Wigan continued to set the tone and forced a drop out on 13
minutes after a good move had seen George Carmont go close. A good
dink kick from Finch was caught by Gelling who cleverly chipped
forward for Carmont to chase but David Hodgson just got back in
Didn't really matter as Sam Tomkins scored a solo blinder soon
after the drop out. He shrugged off a tackle attempt of Scott
Taylor before aiming towards the right wing. He then beat a trio of
defenders (Kris Welham, David Hodgson and Michael Dobson) before
leaving a fourth (McDonnell) completely flat footed with no clue of
what to do. The move ended under the sticks, easy conversion for
Charnley to make it 10-0.
From the restart came our third try in which Bentham suffered
his injury in the process. Brett Finch's offload sent Lee Mossop
under the sticks for his first try since June last year. Bentham
received treatment on the field for 6 minutes before the try was
awarded by the video referee. Charnley converted for 16-0.
Fortunately enough (or perhaps not depending on your view of him
lol) their was a Super League referee, Robert Hicks, running the
touchline for this game so he took over as the referee with the
reserve official taking over with the flag.
Initially the change of official didn't stop Wigan. Two more
tries followed in the next few minutes. Quality try this with
Finch, Sam and George passing superbly before Gelling finished off
in the left corner. Charnley couldn't convert though - 20-0.
Then Charnley claimed his second with more superb passing
creating a break down the right. Finch, Tommy and Sam combining
again to send Fuzzy Goulding away. He beat Hodgson before drawing
in the full back and sending Josh over. Kudos to wool head as well
for using his pace to round Dobson and go nearer the sticks. That
meant an easy conversion for 26-0.
Game done! It was won! Yes Hull KR played much better from here
on in but I think it was hard for Wigan's players not to have one
eye on next week. Especially perhaps after witnessing the leg break
for Bentham. I think they always had enough in the tank to see this
However I did feel that Rovers improved very much so off the
back of bench impact from Joel Clinton, Josh Hodgson, Ryan O'Hara
and Rhys Lovegrove. They were all thrown on after our fifth try and
the visitors had a good spell from that which saw Ben Galea score
on 34 minutes. Dobson converting for 26-6. Another try before the
break could have made this interesting but Wigan held on to a half
time that I think they needed.
Most important thing, as ever it seems, was the get the first
try of the second half and we did that after just 64 seconds.
Sweeping from left to right - Finch and Leuluai combining again
with extra hands of Ginger Farrell and O'Loughlin getting the ball
on the right to Goulding. Fuzzy then beautifully offloaded back to
Josh who claimed his hat-trick try. Conversion was missed but 30-6
was now the score.
Rovers hit back on 51 minutes with a try from McDonnell that was
surely a double movement? Video ref gave it though but Dobson
missed the extras - 30-10 Wigan.
We just needed to get another score to take the sweat off us,
and it came just before the hour. Finch all class again here. His
long pass to Gelling but he still had to beat two defenders to
score, a lovely finish. I don't think it's a secret that Wigan are
trying to re-sign Finch for next year but he's also touting
interest from St Helens and Hull FC and to be honest he is
performing more than well enough to try and earn himself the best
deal possible for himself. Total class with the right passes at the
right time and almost all the time. I hope Wigan can get him
re-signed but only time will tell.
In the final quarter, I wouldn't say Wigan switched off totally
but the intensity of the opening 25 minutes had long gone. This
allowed Rovers to claim two late consolations. First Josh Hodgson
finished a neat try near the sticks but Kris Welham took advantage
of a Sam Tomkins error. The first of those two was converted to
leave the final score 36-22. That was perhaps flattering for the
visitors because their late enthusiasm came far, far, far too late
in this contest. I actually think Wigan won at a canter.
Now come the big test and probably the crunch point of our whole
season. St Helens (Cup at Home), Huddersfield (a), St Helens
(Magic), Leeds (a) and Catalan (a) is a tough run by anyone's
standards. If we can stay in the cup and be top or just close to
top at the end of all that, we should be well placed to have a real
shot of a league and cup double this year. I don't think these five
games are the be all and end all but if we do have a big run in
that lot, then we should be hard to stop for 1st place at least!
Let's see what happens..............bring it on!