Much better from Wigan, much better. Far from the error strewn
performances we witnessed in July and August, we've looked calm and
composed in the last two weeks. The return to fitness of Pat
Richards, Thomas Leuluai and perhaps even "Henderson" Gil Dudson
leave us looking in good shape now towards Old Trafford I feel.
We got a good win here and I think we got a massive favour in
Warrington losing out to St Helens. They were the fear for me.
Whilst you still can't write them off, it's obviously a good thing
that they have to play again and then go away in the semi finals.
I must admit, Waney's choice to start Sean O'Loughlin at hooker
here was a bit of a curve ball but I think it worked well. Not so
much perhaps because of O'Loughlin but allowed us to use Matty
Smith off the bench and also start Liam Farrell at Loose Forward.
But for George Carmont's hat-trick, Ginger was Man of the Match for
Despite the clear anger inside the club about Mike McIlorum's
season ending suspension, personally I still think it's a blessing
and this match perhaps showed why. I mean him and Gareth Hock (who
was also absent here) conceded 26% of Wigan's penalties this season
in Super League.
This win means McIlorum will definitely miss the Grand Final,
should we get there, but it isn't the first time he's suffered
that. He was one of five Wigan players who missed the
2005 Under 18s Grand Final through suspension.
Anyway onto this game and for me it was defence that won us this
match. I got a load of "ah but Catalan were poor and threw nothing
at ya" type reponses when I said that on twitter post match.....but
they did! First twenty minutes the French had chances, but it was
our ability to hold firm and frustrate them that took us towards
Whilst also, up the other end, being clinical in taking our own
chances. George Carmont scored twice in the first 9 minutes to open
up a 10-0 lead. The second was a beauty. Brett Finch hit Farrell
with a pass that got him bursting clear. Ginger has been guilty of
bombing breaks this season but he play it perfect here. He drew in
the full back before offloading to get Carmont over. Pat converted
the first of the two.
I mentioned us soaking up the pressure and thats what we did for
the next 10 minutes or so before again clinically taking our own
chance up the other end with Tommy scurrying over on 23 minutes
from close range. Pat conversion for 16-0.
Catalan hit back next with a good try from Louis Anderson but
Wigan's ability to score killer tries right before half time this
season continued with a Darrell Goulding effort a minute from the
break. Liam Farrell's try two minutes into the second half then
made it 28-6 all of a sudden and the game was never in doubt after
The visitors huffed and puffed but our defence was strong right
across the park. They always get praised for having a huge pack but
they struggled to gain metres against our effort. Wigan picked them
off three more times before the full time hooter.
First on 52 minutes, Sam Tomkins did brilliantly to touch down a
pin point kick from Smith. Then Carmont claimed the second
hat-trick of his Wigan career on 68 minutes. Richards conversions
to both made it 40-6. How much better it is to be going up in sixes
rather than constant fours we had to endure in his absence.
Best try was saved till last with Josh Charnley scoring a
blinder on 74 minutes. He broke through a missed tackle by Thomas
Bosc before using his footwork to be both Steve Menzies and Clint
Greenshields before scoring under the sticks. An arching run 90
metres up the field in total. Pat's conversion completed the
scoring at 46-6.
So Wigan have a weeks rest during a play off push for the first
time since the 2000 season. Only time will tell whether it proves
good to have, but I reckon it will do. Only time will tell though.
Must admit from a fan point of view, it was nice to watch the other
three play off games this weekend, and the two next week, knowing
our job was already done!