Well this was a game that sums up my frustration with Super
League's regular season at the moment. London came here today and I
thought they actually played well, but yet they've gone down
by 30 points to a Wigan side that didn't need to be anywhere near
If you cut down the bare bones, London claimed three
tries. Two were intercepts from our own errors and two of them were
also scored during a ten minute sin bin period for us.
Maybe I'm arrogant (?), but despite those three London scores, I
knew watching that Wigan always had this contest in the bag and it
was really down to our own players to decide how difficult this
victory was going to be for them to achieve. That has been a far
too common occurrence since we went up to 14 teams in Super League.
I'm consistently seeing teams that don't have anywhere near
enough quality to compete and whilst I always want to see Wigan
win, it's depressing in some respects to attend matches like today.
I actually ask myself if London can play much better than that? Can
we accuse London of being badly coached or coming here with poor
attitude? I don't think we can and yet they've still lost by 30
The Second Half was a total no contest and in my view this was
more down to Wigan stepping up a couple of gears rather than London
dropping down, despite what Tony Rea says below. The bottom line
was they just didn't have any quality to compete with and that sums
up a lot of teams that have been around positions 9 to 14 in Super
League in the last three to four years.
What was important was that Wigan got off to a good start and
didn't encourage London early. First attack we were over in the
left corner with Iain Thornley scoring after 90 seconds, completing
a nice one-two with his wing partner Pat Richards. Pat then nailed
a touchline conversion for 6-0.
London then gave Wigan a warning with a clean break down their
left wing but we survived that and scored a second try up the other
end with Josh Charnley hitting an overlap in the right corner.
Although Pat missed the extras, this was looking easy at 10-0.
But then on 16 minutes came a sin binning for Sam Tomkins. He
reacted angrily to what looked a poor decision from the match
officials. Defending a kick into the in goal, he looked to have
taken advantage of the new rule which allows you to knock a ball
dead, to your advantage, if you have one foot stood beyond the dead
ball line. My only question here is if that is valid in the in
goal? It certainly seems to be the case along the touchline.
Anyway, the officials declared a drop out but Sam clearly gave
referee Robert Hicks a verbal volley and he was subsequently
dispatched to the sin bin for dissent.
I actually agree with Hicks, having made his decision, for
producing the yellow card, the dissent was clear. If the rule is
the same for in goal, as it is for the sideline, then Sam clearly
had a point, but I wish their was far more consistency amongst the
match officials surrounding mouthing off like that.
That sin binning played a part in London's best spell of the
match. Pat Richards had gone across to cover Sam at Full Back and
perhaps it was no surprise to see ex Wigan player Liam Colbon go
over in the right corner to which Pat was absent from defending.
Michael Witt nailed an excellent conversion for 10-6.
Then an awful error from Matty Smith in midfield allowed London
to take the lead. His dropped ball was scooped up by Craig Gower
and although he had cement legs in running up the field, he had
support in Kieran Dixon to finish off near the posts. Witt
converted to make it 12-10 to London.
My confidence that this would not turn into a bad afternoon for
Wigan was shown in how quickly we responded to that. We went up the
other end, with Sam back on the field, and scored a very soft try
to retake the lead. Mike McIlorum scored from close range and Pat
converted for 16-12 to Wigan. If London can not muster any spell of
defence, then what is the point? They didn't really hold Wigan at
end point during the entire contest.
That said, they went back ahead themselves from another Wigan
error on 34 minutes. This time it was a charge down interception in
which Chad Randall blocked Blake Green's clearance kick and touched
down without being touched. Witt converted for 18-16 to them.
Again though London could not hold Wigan with any vigour what so
ever and it was so easy how we retook the lead before half time.
You'd think a top level side would be able to find some effort to
try and hold their lead to the break but again we were back ahead
with Green's passing sending Sean O'Loughlin charging over from
close range, rattling the post pads in the process. Pat converted
to make it 22-18 at the half.
Second Half we stepped up the gears and London had zero answers.
Sam Tomkins started off the scoring with a nice diagonal run to the
right corner after just 4 minutes. Four minutes later, nice hands
left saw Richards claim a try and his conversion off the touchline
to that effort now had Wigan leading 32-18.
London began to look tired and were not helped by Matt Cook
being the fall guy for a sin binning just 1 minute after his team
had received the warning signal from referee Hicks. Wigan took full
advantage during this spell with tries from Blake Green and
The Tomkins brothers had combined in midfield to send Green on a
half the field dash to the try line, right up the middle, whilst
Jack Hughes had made the break down the right for Charnley's second
try, the scorer creating a nice option in cutting back on the
inside. Easy conversions for Pat made it 44-18.
Iain Thornley then scored his second with a nice power over on
68 minutes, just as London returned to 13 men, but Pat missed those
extras to stop us getting 50 points on the board.
The only surprise really was no further tries were scored but
the big disappointment for Wigan was news that Lee Mossop is now
out for an expected three months after he popped his shoulder
again. He left the field after 21 minutes in near tears and he
obviously knew straight away it was a bad one. I take the positive
though in that the injury will give a real opportunity for both
Greg Burke and Dom Crosby to show their worth. I'm excited by that!
Will be a good test for them at Castleford next Sunday!