Well Shaun Wane described this effort as "disappointing" but I
didn't really see it like that myself. For the second week in a
row, Wigan chose to play a young side, whilst Rovers had a very
strong line up, for the first half at least.
Also it was an
experimental young Wigan side with Rhodri Lloyd at Centre and
Anthony Gelling playing in the back row. Sam Powell being back
settled us down in the halves though with Ryan Hampshire having a
more natural partner than he did with Liam Carberry at Leigh.
Couldn't really argue with the start Wigan made, they caught
Rovers very cold by scoring two tries in the opening ten minutes.
First Ryan Hampshire hit a lovely gap to complete a diagonally run
try near the posts, which made his conversion easy for 6-0.
Then on ten minutes, Jack Murphy made the initial break up the
gut of the Rovers defence and although he was caught, Wigan scored
on the next play. They went right and Dom Manfredi scored a try
that took some effort on his part. However, it has to be noted that
the Rovers defence was poor also, he never should of scored in a
million years really.
So although Hampshire's conversion missed, Wigan were 10-0 up
and for me were controlling the contest. But then Richard
Silverwood started getting involved and this stifled us.
On five occasions in this match, Silverwood blew penalties for
"incorrect play the ball". Seemed clear that this is the RFL
referees boss Stuart Cummings annual start of season clamp down on
something that becomes annoying then quickly forgot about.
Four of those penalties came around the 20 minute mark in the
match, three of them against Wigan, and this contributed Rovers the
impetus to get back into the match. Also significant was a massive
hit by Mickey Paea that forced Dom Crosby to knock on and
temporality be removed for the field. A knock on that had come deep
in our own half and Lincoln Withers darted over to make it 10-6
after Michael Dobson converted.
Rovers really pinned Wigan back after that score with Dobson's
kicks creating a lot of pressure for the young lads. We also had a
phase of struggling to complete sets also. The KR pack had really
lifted from that Paea hit on Crosby and this made it difficult for
us. I didn't really notice Gil Dudson and Scott Taylor's
contributions off the bench if I'm honest, in fact most impressive
was James Greenwood.
During that spell Rovers scored twice before the break. First,
after a drop out, Greg Eden went over before Paea scored from close
range. Dobson converted both to give the home side an 18-10 half
Into the second half and Rovers seemed to make a lot of changes
at the break. Overall they had four more substitutes available to
them than Wigan and at the start of the second half, I think the
fresher legs contributed to Wigan continuing to be on the back
foot. Liam Salter scored after just 5 minutes and although the
conversion missed, it was now 22-10 to Rovers.
Wigan were struggling but as the half wore on, and those newer
Rovers legs got more tired, the possession and territory began to
even out and although Omari Caro scored twice more for Hull KR, I
think were worth at least a further try during the final quarter.
In the end though Rovers had won 32-10.
The main difference for me was the kicking game between the two
sides. Rovers were often finding the in goal with their kicks,
whilst Wigan's efforts always seemed to be ten metres short of the
in goal. Just the fact that it's the in goal causes more panic and
our in play kicking needs to be far better than this. I made no
bones that I thought it was the achilles heel for us in both
league and cup last year and I saw no signs of hope in this game.
Hopefully we'll see something from Blake Green, when he finally
gets a run out.