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Match Report: Widnes 32 Wigan 33
Posted by cherryandwhite on June 08 2013 - 11:11

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Widnes Vikings v Wigan Warriors - Super League 18 Round 18.
Friday 7th June 2013
. Kick Off 8:00pm at Select Security Stadium Halton.

Match Report

What a night for the Wigan Rugby League club. Sam Tomkins, Pat Richards, Blake Green, Matty Smith, Mike McIlorum, Sean O'Loughlin, Liam Farrell and Ben Flower all absent yet we still find a way to claim a fantastic victory away at Widnes.

Personally I think the spine of a team, to use old fashioned numbering, is the 1, 6, 7, 9 and 13 positions and then you build everything else around those players. To have all of that spine absent yet still cope well is damn impressive.

To cover those absences - Lewis Tierney was given a debut at full back whilst Ryan Hampshire also got a debut off the bench. Sam Powell and George Williams were the starting half backs with Logan Tomkins at hooker and Greg Burke at Loose Forward. Anthony Gelling also made a surprise return on the left wing vacated by Pat.

So for this clash the average age of the Wigan team was just 21.8. This compares to an average age of 28.7 for the Warrington team that played at London on Saturday.

Those age stats should be telling you that the future is very bright here at Wigan, even if a certain Sam Tomkins decides to leave at the end of the season. OK one swallow doesn't make a summer but you got a glimpse in this match of the talent that lies beneath in our Under 19s at the moment.

Warrington meanwhile had nine players age 31 or higher playing for them at London and Leeds two main props, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai, are both age 35.

Now that experience may count for a lot come the back end of the season again, only time will tell, but eventually they are going to have to be replaced. Warrington especially have a hell of a lot of work to do. They could go down the "throw the kids" in route but St Helens are proving that it's not that simple.

Wigan meanwhile chuck the kids in and they are responding to the challenge because they are so well mentally prepared. Rather than fretting about Sam possibly leaving, you should actually be purring about what's going on at Wigan at the moment. The other big sides have plenty of holes to fill in their squads during the next two to three years, we are way ahead and already competing at top level by being way ahead.

I think we've already seen this year the effects of that. Warrington had been deemed to have been below recent par earlier this year but are now bucking up. Is that because they had both Lee Briers and Adrian Morley absent and the return to hot form is because both are back? Similarly Leeds struggled, for results at least, in Jamie Peacock's recent absence. Experience does count for a lot clearly but Wigan are getting a young side building a massive amount of experience, those two sides have still to do that!

Now the match itself. Well it wasn't pretty at times and had Widnes scored when they led at 26-22, we would have lost it was as simple as that. However those youngsters will have learned a great deal from this experience.

I stressed during my Wish FM commentary summarising that their would be times during this game in which they would just simply have to hang in for a spell of pressure and that came midway during the second half. They created a lot of that pressure themselves but withstood about 10 minutes of it before pushing on to win the match. That showed massive character!

I think it has to be pointed out that Widnes had key absences also. Shaun Briscoe, Cameron Phelps, Stefan Marsh, Kevin Brown, Ben Cross and Gareth Hock were missing for them, and all ex Wigan to boot. In fact overall 19 ex Wigan academy players started in this game.

What Wigan needed to do was come out full of vigour and intensity. I felt that, despite going 10-0 ahead, at Wakefield we started the match really slowly. Here we were full of it with a great pack effort from opening props Eric Lauaki and Lee Mossop, whilst Harrison Hansen was a beast in the back row all night.

That intensity led to Wigan taking the lead with their first possession. A "back to one" helped but Logan Tomkins darted over from nine metres to score by the posts. Josh Charnley converted easily for 6-0.

Widnes though responded with a try on 7 minutes. Greg Burke penalised for lying on in the tackle and a great pass from Rhys Hanbury got Patrick Ah Van over in the corner. Charnley was left flapping in defence, a pattern which continued for much of the night. Jack Owens conversion missed, so Wigan still led 6-4.

Wigan though hit back and were well on top for the next 15 minutes or so. They scored twice during this spell. First a penalty conceded by Willie Isa in the 14th minute was punished when Iain Thornley's offload got Lewis Tierney in the left corner for a debut try. Charnley then nailed a touchline conversion for 12-4.

Then on 22 minutes, Williams spotted huge space over on the left side again and despite it only being the second tackle, he put the kick to the corner and Gelling won the leap to the ball for the try. Charnley missed the conversion leaving the score at 16-4.

I felt Wigan lost a bit of edge once the first interchanges came into effect. Dom Crosby, Scott Taylor and Jack Hughes came on to replace Burke, Mossop and Lauaki over a period of 10 minutes and Widnes were the side on top up to half time.

They scored twice. First on 27 mintues, Hanbury broke through missed tackles on half way and sent the supporting Adam Lawton over near the posts. Then two minutes before half time Frank Winterstein scored after Hanbury had kicked into space and Owens had collected well and quickly offloaded. Two conversions from Owens made it 16 all the break.

I was a little bit gutted for Wigan that they went in level but they came out strong again second half. Except for Darrell Goulding who missed the rest of the game with apparent illness. Jack Hughes had to fill in at centre.

Wigan scored quickly with Charnley claiming a blinder. He took a pass one metre from his own line, out stepped Steve Pickersgill and then raced the 99 metres left for the score. Doing the Wish FM commentary I was sat in a position that was about 75 metres to go and by the time he had reached level with us you knew he wasn't going to be stopped. Hanbury started level with him but looked like he had legs in wet cement compared to Josh. Easy conversion made it 22-16 to us again.

The home side were determined to keep going with us toe to toe and hit back again on 49 minutes with a try from the impressive Hanbury. Iain Thornley's defence continues to be a worry for me though. He failed to wrap Dave Allen up and then his departed space was what Hanbury scored through. Owens converted to level up at 22-22.

Then came a huge swing that for a long time was looking massive in terms of the end result. A no try decision went against Hansen after Logan Tomkins had been deemed to have knocked on. Now it was totally the correct decision for me but the bounce up of the ball off his thigh was so unlucky.

After the video referee deliberation, it was only 54 seconds later Widnes were up the other end to take the lead for the first time in the match with Hanbury again the provider to get Ah Van over. Conversion was missed but the lead was now with the home side at 26-22.

This was the spell now in which Wigan had to hang in. four separate errors from Gelling, Lauaki, Charnley and Hughes gave the home side the chances but they didn't take any of them. Like I said had they scored here I think that would have been game over. Ah Van went closest but just couldn't keep in the field of play trying to score in the corner.

Like the Logan no try, this Ah Van no try decision was a big momentum swinger also because just over a minute after it Wigan had scored up the other end. Tierney's pass got Thornley bursting down the left and he timed his offload perfectly to get Gelling over for his second. It was handed on to the video ref and after almost three minutes of deliberation, he gave the try and the scores were now level again at 26 all after Charnley failed with the extras.

One thing Wigan had done during that spell under the pump was throw back on Scott Taylor whilst also bringing on Ryan "Rocky" Hampshire for George Williams. This turned into a masterstroke because they provided great and much needed energy during this final spell.

Rocky didn't really do anything special but he had plenty of buzz about him and that I felt put off the tired defenders in front of him. It was so pleasing on 71 minutes to see the youngsters all around to convert what proved to be a vital drop goal.

Tierney was in at the play the ball and it was good to see Logan not pushing the youngster away from that like some hookers would do. Tierney gave the ball to Sam Powell and he nailed the drop goal from 39 metres, which put Wigan back ahead at 27-26.

Wigan were now not making errors and managed to back that drop goal up with a match clinching try. An error from Ah Van near his own line provided the chance and Powell was again at the heart of it. He beat a missed tackle from Hep Cahill, half out stepped Dave Allen, then offloaded perfectly to get Taylor under the posts. What a time for him to claim the first try of his Wigan career and well deserved. He was massive in this final quarter. Easy conversion from Charnley made it 33-26.

A two score lead and the clock was now Wigan's friend. Only 4 minutes and 17 seconds remained when Widnes had failed with a short kick off but Widnes had not given up when they got the ball back. That man Hanbury again, almost a one man attack for the Vikings, broke clear down the left and hacked the ball on for everyone to chase. If the bounce of the ball had gone for him, he was in under the posts but the bounce fell to Jack Hughes.

Wrap the ball up now for a full set and this game was dusted, but Hughes almost got the lesson of his life. He knocked on and was punished with Ah Van touching down a Lloyd White kick to claim his hat-trick try.

A quickly taken touchline conversion from Owens made it 33-32 to Wigan but they still had 1 minute and 20 seconds left on the clock. Wigan snatching defeat from the jaws of victory was looking ominous, especially when White had made a half break down the left side again. Hampshire it was who scrambled back to tackle him but Widnes were now in drop goal range to try for the draw. Instead however they seemed to get caught in two minds and tried a kick towards Ah Van which was never on and trickled into touch.

Such waste but what a relief for us Wigan fans. The clock ran out and Wigan had kind of hung on in the end. It was a deserved victory I felt though and one that showed such immense character. Great effort. Much as we saw a quality effort from captain for the night Harrison Hansen, it was the youngsters Powell, Tierney, Hampshire, Logan Tomkins and Taylor in the middle of the park that were all massive in that last period of the game. Delighted to see that. This young squad as a whole will have plenty of small margins to learn from......but what a result! And Huddersfield losing at Hull KR just made it all the more sweeter because we now are five points clear at the top of Super League.

Reaction to the Action

Coach Shaun Wane: "I'm pleased with the win. I wasn't that pleased with the performance - I thought we could play better but to get two points with that team, I'm pleased for the young kids. I wanted  to see how the young kids go. We came and won the game and we should be speaking about one of the best youth structures in the competition. I have players who have had operations and others are struggling. They are genuine injuries and I shouldn't have to justify that. I want to see how the young kids go. We came and won the game and we should be speaking about one of the best youth structures in the competition. I knew that team had a chance of winning the game. I'm pleased with the two points, we put a lot of effort in. I have given quite a few debuts this year and I always play a lot of youngsters. I'm fuming about a few things I saw - poor decisions by the referee - but I am not going to let that affect the win. It was a great two points with the team we had out. We showed the quality and the depth in our club. (Lewis Tierney) is a good player and the only way I am going to find out is putting him in games like that. He will play again this year. He is a real talent."

Widnes Coach Denis Betts: "We didn't lose it from the drop goal. We lost it from their tryline with a couple of missed tackles. The first try was a soft try and we made errors. We were against a well-drilled highly-talented side. We worked hard enough to get something out of that game and the lads are really hurting. We are in the margins at the moment, just the wrong side of them. You saw a very tight squad and some lads in my team maturing and starting to get what it is about."

Team Sheets

- Wakefield Position Wigan 1
7 Rhys Hanbury Full Back Lewis Tierney 35
5 Patrick Ah Van

Winger

Josh Charnley 2
2 Willie Isa Centre Darrell Goulding 3
15 Chris Dean Centre Iain Thornley 17
26 Jack Owens Winger Anthony Gelling 22
21 Danny Craven Stand Off Sam Powell 24
14 Joe Mellor Scrum Half George Williams 31
16 Eamon O'Carroll Prop Epalahame Lauaki 8
9 Jon Clarke Hooker Logan Tomkins 23
10 Steve Pickersgill Prop Lee Mossop 10
11 Frank Winterstein 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 11
12 Dave Allen 2nd Row Chris Tuson 16
13 Hep Cahill L.Forward Greg Burke 29
-
17 Ben Kavanagh Substitute Jack Hughes 4
18 Lloyd White Substitute Scott Taylor 21
24 MacGraff Leuluai Substitute Dom Crosby 26
29 Adam Lawton Substitute Ryan Hampshire 32
- Denis Betts Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

Widnes Vikings 32 --- Wigan Warriors 33
Tries (6):
Patrick Ah Van 3
Adam Lawton
Frank Winterstein
Rhys Hanbury
--- Tries (6):
Logan Tomkins
Lewis Tierney
Anthony Gelling 2
Josh Charnley
Scott Taylor
Goals:
Jack Owens 4/6
--- Goals:
Josh Charnley 4/6
--- --- Drop Goals:
Sam Powell 1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

02mins:19 Widnes 00 Wigan 04 Try: Logan Tomkins
- Widnes 00 Wigan 06 Conversion: Josh Charnley (1/1)
06mins:12 Widnes 04 Wigan 06 Try: Patrick Ah Van
- Widnes 04 Wigan 06 J.Owens Missed Conversion (0/1)
13mins:33 Widnes 04 Wigan 10 Try: Lewis Tierney
- Widnes 04 Wigan 12 Conversion: Josh Charnley (2/2)
21mins:32 Widnes 04 Wigan 16 Try: Anthony Gelling
- Widnes 04 Wigan 16 J.Charnley Missed Conversion (2/3)
26mins:30 Widnes 08 Wigan 16 Try: Adam Lawton
- Widnes 10 Wigan 16 Conversion: Jack Owens (1/2)
37mins:43 Widnes 14 Wigan 16 Try: Frank Winterstein
- Widnes 16 Wigan 16 Conversion: Jack Owens (2/3)
Half Time Widnes Vikings 16 Wigan Warriors 16
42mins:04 Widnes 16 Wigan 20 Try: Josh Charnley
- Widnes 16 Wigan 22 Conversion: Josh Charnley (3/4)
50mins:12 Widnes 20 Wigan 22 Try: Rhys Hanbury
- Widnes 22 Wigan 22 Conversion: Jack Owens (3/4)
55mins:54 Widnes 26 Wigan 22 Try: Patrick Ah Van (2)
- Widnes 26 Wigan 22 J.Owens Missed Conversion (3/5)
66mins:46 Widnes 26 Wigan 26 Try: Anthony Gelling (2)
- Widnes 26 Wigan 26 J.Charnley Missed Conversion (3/5)
71mins:09 Widnes 26 Wigan 27 Drop Goal: Sam Powell
74mins:02 Widnes 26 Wigan 31 Try: Scott Taylor
- Widnes 26 Wigan 33 Conversion: Josh Charnley (4/6)
77mins:48 Widnes 30 Wigan 33 Try: Patrick Ah Van (Hat-Trick)
- Widnes 32 Wigan 33 Conversion: Jack Owens (4/6)
Full Time Widnes Vikings 32 Wigan Warriors 33

Referee

James Child (Video Referee: Ben Thaler)

Match Attendance

6,528

Weather

Perfect Summer Night.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 18 - Round 18

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Wigan Warriors 18 15 1 2 678 256 +422 31
2 Huddersfield Giants 18 13 0 5 533 339 +194 26
3 Warrington Wolves 18 12 1 5 620 325 +295 25
4 Catalan Dragons 18 10 2 6 461 388 +73 22
5 Leeds Rhinos 16 10 1 5 413 262 +151 21
6 Hull FC 18 9 2 7 396 351 +45 20
7 Hull Kingston Rovers 18 9 0 9 466 534 -68 18
8 St Helens 18 8 1 9 408 393 +15 17
9 Bradford Bulls 18 7 2 9 411 443 -32 16
10 Wakefield Wildcats 17 6 1 10 425 494 -69 13
11 Widnes Vikings 17 5 2 10 423 541 -118 12
12 Castleford Tigers 18 4 2 12 404 583 -179 10
13 Salford City Reds 18 4 1 13 281 657 -376 9
14 London Broncos 18 3 2 13 309 658 -349 8

Top Eight Qualify for the Play Offs

Round 18 Results
Fri 7 June Hull Kingston Rovers 35 Huddersfield Giants 28 6,963
Fri 7 June Leeds Rhinos 42 Castleford Tigers 24 17,035
Fri 7 June Widnes Vikings 32 Wigan Warriors 33 6,528
Sat 8 June London Broncos 10 Warrington Wolves 82 3,041
Sat 8 June Catalan Dragons 30 Hull FC 4 8,105
Sun 9 June St Helens 30 Bradford Bulls 18 11,385
Mon 10 June Salford City Reds 10 Wakefield Wildcats 46 2,327

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