Salford obviously have a bigger picture to look at after this
result, but from a Wigan point of view this was an excellent
professional job to open up the league season.
Those that weren't at the game will
look at 42-0 and assess that Salford were simply poor, but it
wasn't exactly like that. Salford in the first half showed plenty
of vigour and enthusiasm but our defence was just too good! I
said it was the positive from the Warrington friendly and it
The home side certainly didn't roll over and die and
Wigan had to grind them down. We did so with good processes, decent
last tackle options and a good set completion. Whilst I was
disappointed our early pressure wasn't converted into points, it
was perhaps only luck that had stopped us scoring in the opening
First try did come on 13 minutes though with Blake
Green sending Liam Farrell bursting through an almighty gap and Sam
Tomkins was in support to finish off. Easy conversion for Pat
Richards made it 6-0.
Salford then had a good spell of consistent pressure
for the next ten minutes. Wigan however were strong and it was only
really on the last tackle that Salford could make us really sweat.
They did so on a few occasions, particularly from French half back
Theo Fages, but Tomkins and Josh Charnley both made excellent
You felt as the interchanges came into effect that
Wigan just stepped up a gear and that was reflected on the
scoreboard with a quick fire double.
First on 28 minutes, Matty Smith completed a good
individual effort from close range. Questions of double movement
apparently but it was opposite end of the ground from us Wigan
supporters. Try was given and Pat converted for 12-0.
Jack Murphy, on loan at Salford from Wigan, was being
peppered with kicks by now and to be honest he had a mixed night.
One big error saw Wigan punish with quick hands getting Charnley
over in the right corner. Conversion was missed - 16-0.
After two quick tries you perhaps would have expected Salford to be
hanging on for half time but it ended up the opposite way round.
Wigan had a bad spell of penalty conceding which saw James Child
issue a team warning in the new fashion of winding his arm round in
a circular motion. This replaces the necessity of calling the
captain out. I like it. Nice and simple, everyone knows what the
situation is and it was rightly given in my view after Wigan had
been twice penalised for high shots.
score before the break but that warning still carried into the
second half and "Henderson" Gil Dudson was the fall guy with a sin
bin just a minute after the restart.
The fact Wigan
scored with 12 men during that sin bin period ended the contest and
it was Iain Thornley who touched down a lovely grubber from
substitute Sam Powell. Pat converted that for 22-0.
time wore on it became increasingly evident that Salford had no
legs to get up the field and the final quarter saw all the action
at our end of the field, the end Wigan were attacking. Our class
came through with four excellent tries to wrap up this performance.
First Pat Richards was sent in the right corner by Tomkins, then
the second try saw Pat breaking down the left wing from inside his
own half. In support was the Ginger Pearl to finish off the move, a
try he thoroughly deserved for an excellent performance. I've a lot
of faith in Farrell that he'll soon have us forgetting all about
Gareth Hock! Two missed conversions - 30-0.
two tries fell to Sam Tomkins and this was amazing stuff
considering he hadn't played a minute of rugby in pre season. His
first effort saw him show great pace and footwork to get over in
the left corner, before his second effort saw him mesmerising the
Reds defence in a try close the posts. All quality. What a joy to
witness! Two conversions from Pat wrapped up a 42-0 victory and a
very satisfactory start to the campaign.
tougher opponents to come next week in Warrington but I think this
was the perfect warm up for that. Like I said the processes were
good, and the kicking game did create some pressure. We just need
to crank it all up a gear next week and maintain this standard of
defence. Good signs from the new half back duo, particularly Blake
Green who looks a very good organiser. All in all I came out of
this game far more positive about this year than I was, but the
litmus test is next Friday. That is a proper test of our potential