Wigan made hay whilst the sun, once again, shined at Twickenham Stoop
in seeing off London Broncos to
maintain our lead at the top of Super League. Though it wasn't
exactly a roll over and die effort from the Broncos, this was a
routine victory to say the least.
Once the first score of the second half went our way, the game
was in bag. It was apparent all afternoon that the impetus was on
defence, after the garbage efforts of the Semi Final, and in the end
it was disappointing to not claim the nil, although understandable
to be caught cold when they did. The one London try came on the
back of a long injury delay as I'll explain later in the report.
Star of the show was once again Sam Tomkins, who scored 4 tries
to take his Super League total for the season to 22. This makes him
second top try scorer in the league now behind our own Josh Charnley who
increased his total to 26.
Coach Shaun Wane brought back in Iain Thornley and Matty
Smith following them being cup-tied for the semi defeat to Leeds. Thornley replaced
Anthony Gelling, who was dropped to the Under 20s, on the left wing
whilst Matty Smith started at Scrum Half with Brett Finch and Sean
O'Loughlin reverting to their natural positions of Stand Off and
If someone had said to me on July 21st 2011 that
in one years time our starting props would be Ben Flower and Eric
Lauaki I would have laughed into my pie supper, but twelve months on,
that was exactly the case in this game. I think Lee Mossop and Jeff
Lima deserved to be dropped to the bench to be honest
after a very poor opening spell in the cup semi.
This game was
all about Sam though and it took him just 80 seconds to not only
open the scoring but also claim the 100th try of his Wigan career
in his 119th appearance. He first got Charnley away down the right
wing with a pass that cut out two defenders then was in support to
take the ball back and score. He continued with the goal kicking
for a third match in a row and converted an easy effort for 6-0.
Then the second try quickly came in the 6th minute. Mike McIlorum
darted from dummy half before finding Darrell Goulding who cleverly
flicked the pass on for Charnley. Josh then steps like he's
bouncing on a pogo stick to beat two defenders and get over in the
corner. Sam couldn't convert though - only 10-0.
at this point but London grew into the game and it wasn't until a
minute before half time before the next try came for Wigan. I don't
think Wigan were particularly poor during this period. Defence was
just on top.
Wigan have been masters of a try just before the
break this season though and no different here. Good hands in the
build up with Brett Finch and Ben Flower combining but Sam beat
Craig Gower with the dummy then dove over for his second try. His
conversion sent us in at the break 16-0.
As ever, first try of
the second half was going to set the tone for the rest of this
game. Wigan quickly got it, taking just three minutes to claim our
fourth try. Simple effort this one. McIlorum from dummy half, to
Finch, to Sam and Iain Thornley had a walk in, in the left corner.
Conversion missed though - 20-0.
Fifth try was good team work on
50 minutes. Matty Smith takes it in and finds Liam Farrell on the
half burst. Good offload from Ginger finds Sam who in turn sends
Smith under the posts for his first Wigan try. Sheer delight on his
face to get that four pointer. I mentioned Sam had scored his 100th
try in his 118 games, Smith here was scoring just his 18th try in
his 120th career appearance. Big difference eh but hopefully Smith
will get his strike rate up now he's at a top club! Conversion by
Sam made the score 26-0.
Then five minutes later he
completed his hat-trick. This one started from deep with a hit up
from "the beast" Jeff Lima. Good pass inside to get Finch on the
breakaway from 60 metres out and Sam was in support to finish close
to the posts. Have to note the support of that break from Ginger
Farrell as well who ran the opposite side of Finch to Sam.
Conversion was easy for 32-0.
The hour mark came and
Finch himself scored the next Wigan try. He just hit a good
diagonal run onto a pass from Smith and full back Dan Sarginson
couldn't stop him. Another conversion made it 38-0.
Speaking of Sarginson, he sadly got injured not soon after that. He
was down injured for about five minutes and left the field on a
stretcher. The delay worked in London's failure because straight
off the restart they caught Wigan cold with a kick from Gower being
touched down by Michael Robertson. Can't really see too much fault
in the defence for that. Maybe not enough pressure on the kicker
but it was a good grubber. Michael Witt converted for 38-6.
The best try was saved till last. A try I described as
"masturbatory" on my twitter during the game. Sam it was for his
fourth and it was pure genius at work. He gets the ball on the
right, beats Will Lovell with a lovely step, then burns Julien
Rinaldi for pace before he chips over the top to beat two more
defenders, collect himself and finish under the posts. All class!
He then converted to complete a personal points tally of 26 points
in an easy 44-6 Wigan win.