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Match Report: Warrington 22 Wigan 12
Posted by cherryandwhite on June 26 2013 - 00:42

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors - Super League 18 Round 19.
Monday 24th June 2013
. Kick Off 7:45pm at Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Match Report

This was Rugby League at it's quality best. A barnstorming 80 minutes between two sides who gave their all and perhaps this time it really was a dress rehearsal for a Wembley or Grand Final to come? Ok the result didn't go Wigan's way in the end but I actually came away feeling we had so many positives to take forward out of this match.

Having shoehorned myself into the worlds worst commentary box, with leg room that would make dwarfs suffer, I was chatting pre match on Wish FM about the faith shown in youngsters between the two coaches.

Tony Smith became Warrington coach in March 2009 and yet for all that time, Warrington only played one academy produced player in this match that he has given a debut to. For the record that was 18 year old Ben Currie.

Wigan meanwhile named a team that has seen Josh Charnley, Sam Powell, Logan Tomkins, Dom Crosby, Greg Burke, Jack Hughes, Chris Tuson, Tom Spencer and George Williams come through during that same time frame.

Now don't get me wrong. We all know had Blake Green, Ben Flower, Mike McIlorum, Sean O'Loughlin, Eric Lauaki, Gil Dudson or Scott Taylor been fit they would have been fighting to get in the team, but the point I'm making is that this was a huge leap for Wigan going forward, comparing the two sides experience.

The average age of the Warrington side was 29.2, which compared to just 22.7 for Wigan. That averages out at 6 and half years more experience a man more that us. That's a hell of a difference. So for us to go toe to toe with them for almost 80 minutes has to be taken as a huge positive.

Especially when it wasn't like we lost it by doing something dumb. Neither did we lose it because we lost the pack battle, which has been the case against Warrington in recent years. I think you just have to hold your hands up and say that was a classy winning try produced by Chris Riley. Nice clever idea to kick inside and sometimes the bounce of the ball just doesn't go your way. Mick Higham claimed it and I think he was massive in the last few minutes. A real late boost of the bench.

At the end of the day however, no one could have argued if Wigan had scored to win this 18-10. It was that close a contest and again to have competed so well considering the vast difference in experience was very pleasing indeed.

Apart from Ben Harrison perhaps, that was a first choice pack for Warrington with their most experienced props actually being on the interchange bench. Their four front rowers (Chris Hill, Paul Wood, Adrian Morley and Garreth Carvell) had a combined over 1,000 appearances between them.

This compared to about 170 combined between Lee Mossop, Dom Crosby and Tom Spencer. Greg Burke did end up propping as well but he started at Loose Forward. Ironically Burke was aged just 2 when Morley made his debut for Leeds way back in 1994/95.

The duo of Crosby and Burke really showed up here for me though. They will never have played a game of this intensity in their careers but stood up really well. That Crosby break was worth the admission money alone. At one point second half it was those two leading the line with Mossop and Spencer being joined by Harrison Hansen on the sideline. You don't often see H take a breather but doing the Wish FM commentary I had a good view of the touchline and he was breathing like a 90 year old asthmatic when he came off, he'd given that much to the cause.

Ironic thing about Crosby though was that he was only picked up by Wigan age 19. He had spent most of his junior rugby with Hindley before St Pats took him up late on where he got spotted. With current "Under 19s" academy rules, it could easily be argued that he wouldn't be able to get an opportunity if he was 19 today. He was very raw at first and got developed after he'd turned 19. That for me should be a great concern to our sport.

I'm not convinced he would have come on the same playing sporadic dual-registration and I think we are seeing a lot of prop forwards being  late developers these days. James Greenwood is a good example last season but I sadly fear the academy rule changes will stop him making it if I'm honest and it's not his fault. I fear playing for South Wales isn't a good enough standard for him but only time will tell on that though.

Back to this match though and I think the conclusion for us is that it wasn't not a night for "unused substitute". It's easy to suggest, in hindsight, that we could have thrown George Williams on but I'm not convinced it was what we needed. That "unused" spot was crying out for another prop forward but clearly we didn't have any fit enough to play. To have only one prop on your bench when they had two very experienced forwards was tough.

Also, we'd actually gone down to 14 men in affect after Jack Hughes and Lee Mososp had left the field injured during the last twenty minutes. That meant Burke was left out there despite looking a bit jelly-legged for me because we just didn't have the numbers left to interchange. Worth noting also that Spencer was heavily strapped round the hamstring. Basically, they were blowing out their arses them forwards and you simply cannot ask for more than what they gave!

The biggest positive perhaps out of this game was that we might just well have sorted a centre conundrum. Iain Thornley was the last man standing to have played every game for us this season  but his absence here gave Anthony Gelling his first opportunity to play in the centres and the general consensus is that he took it.

Thornley's defensive issues have been quite clear, with Waney substituting him off quite ruthlessly at both Hull and Wakefield, but it wasn't just defence that Gelling was strong. I thought he was holding the ball up well at times and showing great strength to try and get the offload way. Took his try well also, nice dummy to leave Brett Hodgson flapping. Baring in mind he hasn't been playing any reserve grade action this year, that was quite a switched on effort from him. I think we'll have to see how he combines well with Pat in flowing play but this wasn't a night for that to be tested too much with Warrington's defence being so good.

So not a good result obviously but I think the performance was one we will take a huge amount out of. I'm excited to see how we go when we finally get Blake Green back because he will compliment Smith's excellent kick game magnificently. I've said time and again that the kicking game was our ultimate downfall last season but Smith is stepping up to the plate in that department and ultimately that's what helped us compete in this match. Not often you can come out a loss with so much excitement to go forward with but I'm buzzing for the end of the season rally after watching that!

(Will add story of the match at some point later).

Reaction to the Action

Coach Shaun Wane: "For me, it's a moral victory. I don't want to take anything away from Warrington, who are a quality team. Probably the best team won but they know they've been in a game. I'm immensely proud of our effort. It's a tough place to come with the amount of players we had out. They are probably the form team of the comp. One thing I won't question is our desire to win games. The over-riding sadness is that I thought we deserved something out of the game. They are very annoyed with themselves because a couple of individual defensive errors cost us. To stay in the battle and end up with nothing is tough to swallow."

Warrington coach Tony Smith: "It was one of those games that either team could have won all the way through. What I would say is that Wigan had enough ball to win four games and the amount of defence we went through was enormous. I thought we showed great commitment. With the likes of Sam Tomkins you have to be on your game and to keep them to the amount of points we did with the amount of ball they had on our line, it was a terrific effort. It was end-to-end stuff, tough and very very physical, a great advert for our sport. It's the sort of standard rugby league should be played at."

Team Sheets

- Warrington Position Wigan 1
1 Brett Hodgson Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
5 Joel Monaghan

Winger

Josh Charnley 2
19 Stefan Ratchford Centre Darrell Goulding 3
4 Ryan Atkins Centre Anthony Gelling 22
2 Chris Riley Winger Pat Richards 5
6 Lee Briers Stand Off Sam Powell 24
7 Richard Myler Scrum Half Matty Smith 7
18

Chris Hill

Prop Lee Mossop 10
14 Mick Higham Hooker Logan Tomkins 23
16 Paul Wood Prop Dom Crosby 26
11 Trent Waterhouse 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 11
12 Ben Westwood 2nd Row Liam Farrell 12
15 Simon Grix L.Forward Greg Burke 29
-
8 Adrian Morley Substitute Jack Hughes 4
9 Michael Monaghan Substitute Chris Tuson 16
10 Garreth Carvell Substitute Tom Spencer 30
24 Ben Currie Substitute George Williams 31
- Tony Smith Coach Shaun Wane -

Note: Wigan 31. George Williams was an unused substitute.

Score Sheet

Warrington Wolves 22 --- Wigan Warriors 12

Tries (4):
Ben Westwood
Joel Monaghan
Mick Higham
Chris Hill

--- Tries (2):
Sam Tomkins
Anthony Gelling
Goals:
Brett Hodgson 3/4
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 2/2

Scoring and Incident Pattern

06mins:51 Warrington 04 Wigan 00 Try: Ben Westwood
- Warrington 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Brett Hodgson (1/1)
29mins:49 Warrington 10 Wigan 00 Try: Joel Monaghan
- Warrington 10 Wigan 00 B.Hodgson Missed Conversion (1/2)
Half Time Warrington Wolves 10 Wigan Warriors 00
41mins:42 Warrington 10 Wigan 04 Try: Sam Tomkins
- Warrington 10 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
49mins:45 Warrington 10 Wigan 10 Try: Anthony Gelling
- Warrington 10 Wigan 12 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/2)
73mins:01 Warrington 14 Wigan 12 Try: Mick Higham
- Warrington 16 Wigan 12 Conversion: Brett Hodgson (2/3)
76mins:33 Warrington 20 Wigan 12 Try: Chris Hill
- Warrington 22 Wigan 12 Conversion: Brett Hodgson (3/4)
Full Time Warrington Wolves 22 Wigan Warriors 12

Video Highlights

Referee

Phil Bentham (Video Referee: Ian Smith)

Match Attendance

14,028

Weather

Dry Night.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 18 - Round 19

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Wigan Warriors 19 15 1 3 690 278 +412 31
2 Huddersfield Giants 19 14 0 5 573 357 +216 28
3 Warrington Wolves 19 13 1 5 642 337 +305 27
4 Leeds Rhinos 18 11 1 6 469 330 +139 23
5 Catalan Dragons 19 10 2 7 482 410 +72 22
6 Hull FC 19 9 2 8 424 381 +43 20
7 Hull Kingston Rovers 19 10 0 9 488 555 -67 20
8 St Helens 19 9 1 9 460 403 +57 19
9 Bradford Bulls 19 7 2 10 439 475 -36 16
10 Wakefield Wildcats 18 7 1 10 471 508 -37 15
11 Widnes Vikings 19 6 2 11 483 607 -124 14
12 Castleford Tigers 19 5 2 12 434 611 -177 12
13 London Broncos 19 3 2 14 323 704 -381 8
14 Salford City Reds 19 4 1 14 291 709 -418 *7*

Top Eight Qualify for the Play Offs
*Salford deducted two points on June 14th for fielding 14 men during a match.

Round 4 - Rearranged Fixture
Mon 17 June Leeds Rhinos 38 Widnes Vikings 28 12,782

Round 19 Results
Fri 21 June Castleford Tigers 30 Hull FC 28 6,022
Fri 21 June Salford City Reds 10 St Helens 52 3,248
Sat 22 June Catalan Dragons 21 Hull Kingston Rovers 22 12,000
Sun 23 June Bradford Bulls 28 Widnes Vikings 32 8,124
Sun 23 June Huddersfield Giants 40 Leeds Rhinos 18 7,756
Sun 23 June Wakefield Wildcats 46 London Broncos 14 8,203
Mon 24 June Warrington Wolves 22 Wigan Warriors 12 14,028

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