Well the last two fixtures have seen Wigan trail 16-4 and 18-4 at
home but their was a much better showing from Wigan in this cup tie
Sean O'Loughlin and Sam Tomkins returning were obviously huge
boosts but I'll need convincing that Sam was really fully fit. He
scored a try but generally I thought he was pretty quiet during the
50 minutes he played.
Forget those two though - for me the bigger key for us was Blake
Green looking like he was returning to his early season form. This
was only his second start since returning from injury and their was
none of the lethargy that had dogged his previous appearance against
It's also the combination with Matty Smith that is going to be
huge for us going forward as well. We had gone the best part of two
months (seven matches) without the pair starting together and to
still be top despite that should be taken as a job well done.
Much as Wigan played well however, Widnes were dreadful. Every
time you watch them they do dumb things and you see Denis Betts on
TV with his head in his hands. He really should be questioning
himself. Their defence has been appalling in Super League since day
one and shows no sign of getting better. Surely it's down to him to
get them doing better things in both attack and defence?
actually made a decent start after an opening minute knock on from
Mike McIlorum gave them a big chance to claim an early try. It
would have been interesting had it happened, but it didn't and
Wigan soon got gifted control of the game.
Macgraff Leuluai was
guilty on at least three occasions of helping Wigan down the field
and the first of those penalties conceded was almost punished by
Anthony Gelling who made a great break out of dummy half from 30
metres. He was just short on the last tackle.
Next Wigan attack
saw great last tackle offloading look like it had got Blake Green
over but he couldn't gather to score the try.
gifted Wigan the opener soon after. Rhys Hanbury's pass went to
ground and Josh Charnley returned it sixty metres for the opening
try. Pat's conversion was easy for 6-0.
That quickly was doubled
with another try gifted to Josh. This time Widnes were caught out
on the last and it was left to Patrick Ah Van to panic kick away
but the ball again went to ground and Charnley returned it. Pat
converted for 12-0.
I was remarking on Wish FM, doing the
commentary summarising, that Sam had been quiet and then up he
popped to finish off a Harrison Hansen break for 18-0. I think
though that this try was his only contribution to the match. He
wasn't his normal self like I said earlier.
Wigan had a further try chalked off for a knock on before
scoring their fourth. This was a nice one. From inside his own
half, Liam Farrell broke and had five in support against Full Back
Hanbury. Matty Smith was the man who got the ball and he finished,
an easy kick for Pat again making it 24-0.
Widnes did find one
score on the night. Nice try as well. Kevin Brown timing his run to
collect one kick before kicking again to get Ah Van over in the
corner. Although the conversion was missed, for 24-4, they did
finish the half strongly looking for another.
However they gifted
Charnley a try for a third time. A ball to ground again and Josh
returned it 90 metres to complete his hat-trick.
So 30-4 at half
time and Wigan then took 55 seconds to slam shut any chance of a
Widnes fight back. The visitors had taken a dead kick off out dead
and Liam Farrell scored to punish. Have to say though he was
disgraceful casual in touching down and almost got a lesson for it.
Widnes' last gasp defender almost caused an error. Ginger got away
with that one.
After that, the game died away. Wigan had done enough to win and
started to withdraw the likes of Sam Tomkins, Sean O'Loughlin and
Mike McIlorum over time to keep them fresh for what's to come.
Sam's replacement was young Ryan Hampshire who claimed a try on 56
minutes. Blake Green's forwarding looking pass found Gil Dudson who
in turn sent Hampshire under the posts. Conversion made it 42-4.
Then with 14 minutes to go Blake Green capped off his performance
with a neat try, capitalising on another Widnes error. Pat actually
had to put some effort into kicking this one, the first of the
night that wasn't under the posts, but he did so to complete a 48-4
I was saying on Wish FM commentary that I wanted Wigan
to keep up defensive standards during the final 20 minutes. They
did that. Whether that was down to themselves or Widnes being
awful, I'll let you decide!