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Match Report: St Helens 22 Wigan 16
Posted by cherryandwhite on July 23 2013 - 20:40

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St Helens v Wigan Warriors - Super League 18 Round 22.
Monday 22nd July 2013
. Kick Off 7:45pm at Langtree Park.

Match Report

Disappointing. Really, really disappointing. Wigan yet again lose a tight game against a big name opponent. A worrying trend continues.

Absences do not hide the fact that we should have had better control to win this match with who we had out there. Of course I'm convinced that had Sean O'Loughlin, Harrison Hansen and Mike McIlorum (never mind Sam Tomkins) been out there late on we'd have won but the point is that we should have won without them!

We had a big momentum swing early in the second half. A wonder tackle from Ryan Hampshire denies Joe Greenwood and then he goes up the other end to send Josh Charnley over for a great try. We'd done well to get from 12-0 down and from possibly being 18-8 down we were instead 14-12 up....but sadly we never capitalised on that swing.

Later we had a drop goal for a 15-14 lead, but the way we went about this game from that position onwards was awful. That drop goal came in the 57th minute and it was about the 71st minute before we finally got some ball. Fourteen minutes of dreadful control from Wigan. Gifting three penalty goal shots to them says it all.

We can argue about those absent all we want, but really it's a squad mentality that is seeing us repeatedly struggle to win tight games against big opponents since Wane became coach.

Warrington (H) - February 2012 - LOST
18-12 up with 30 minutes to go and 20-20 with ten minutes to go. Lost the match in the end.

Leeds (H) - 2012 Play Offs - LOST
Awful first half but fought back well to lead 12-11 inside the last ten minutes. Couldn't push home though. Leeds got a penalty to win.

Warrington (H) - February 2013 - DRAW
Led 17-16 inside the final five minutes but a daft tackle in the air penalty from Pat on Brett Hodgson helped Warrington find territory to force a draw.

Huddersfield (A) - February 2013 - LOST
10-0 lead after 12 minutes but 16-10 down 9 minutes to go. Had pretty much all those 9 minutes camped on Huddersfield's line but couldn't find a try to get a draw. They nicked another score on the hooter.

Leeds (A) - March 2013 - LOST
A tight 18-14 deficit for all of the last 19 minutes but couldn't find a way to win.

Warrington (A) - June 2013 - LOST
Held a 12-10 lead for 24 minutes to inside the final ten minutes but couldn't find a way to win.

Then in this game. Level inside the final five minutes and again LOST.

I have to counter this a little bit by acknowledging that we've punched home in some games this year - Cas (A), Wakefield (A), Widnes (A) & Bradford (H) - but they are not really comparable opponents.

The only big tight game we have won was Leeds at Magic, when we won 20-16, but you could argue we got lucky with the Danny McGuire "No Try"?

I certainly didn't think we handled the closing out of that Magic Weekend game well and you have seven examples here of us being in a "next try wins" kind of position against big teams, inside the last ten minutes, and failing.

Personally I'm full of admiration for what Shaun Wane has done for us over the last 10 years or so, and I'm desperate for him to succeed in the top position, but the continuing lack of ideas in turning these situations into regular wins is not good enough. Add in the 2012 Cup Semi embarrassment, a total no show at Warrington (A) last August and losing to Saints last September and it's not pretty reading at all.

It's so frustrating because we beat the smaller teams pretty handsomely on most occasions, but its pointless doing so if we keep failing at the crunch point. Wane always has high standards of himself but what we are doing for the big games is consistently not working.

However he, and we've, time to get it right. Who knows but on Sunday Night we could be looking at being at Wembley and Warrington are not. Not predicting it but it could well happen and we'd be looking smug all of a sudden.

But we are certainly in a position of hoping things come together at the back end of this season, rather than expecting it!

This match against Saints was lost in the first and last twenty minutes. Saints came out with a real intensity in defence and that stifled us into some errors. The first try conceded to Adam Swift on 9 minutes was good coaching from Nathan Brown. I reckon they spotted our defence was slack on the short side at scrums and they went straight for it with Swift going over untouched.

Then on 15 minutes, Swift was in for a second with Jonny Lomax sending him over. Two conversions from Gareth O'Brien made it 12-0.

Wigan were now in a position of hanging in this game for a spell, but slowly we clawed our way back into it. I thought we got good impact off the bench, particularly from Scott Taylor. Mike McIlorum was also substituted and never returned.

Good hands got Pat Richards over in the left corner to make it 12-4 after 25 minutes following his missed conversion.

Wigan were still hanging in a little but got a superbly timed try on 39 minutes to narrow the gap before the break. Bomb went up and it wasn't defended by Saints, Charnley pouncing on the loose ball. Pat missed the extra's again but we should of been happy to be at 12-8 following that first half.

Second Half and Saints should have scored first after Joe Greenwood burst through but Ryan Hampshire tackled him superbly and dislodged the ball in the process to force the knock on.

Hampshire then pulled a double whammy because less than a minute later, he had thrown a dummy to find space and send Charnley towards the line. Josh still had work to do but he stood up Lomax before not only getting over but rounding off near the posts to make the conversion easier for Pat. Those extras put us ahead at 14-12.

We were well on top by now and were winning the pack battle with our interchange being stronger. But then came the much talked about since Scott Taylor incident. He was penalised for shoulder charging Gareth O'Brien. Now many have been screaming red card and awful tackle on forums since but the RFL have actually concluded the same way that I did on Wish FM commentary at the time.

I felt the injury was caused by O'Brien being sandwiched between Taylor's hit and his own Paul Wellens. It kind of made the tackle a double big hit.

I understand the issues with shoulder charge there but found it interesting to hear ex Saints Mike Bennett's thoughts. He was joining us on Wish FM to cover the Saints perspective (Wish FM covers both Wigan and Saints) and he actually told us that his opinion was that the shoulder charge should be legal. I can see the arguments about whether it was "shoulder to shoulder" or a direct head hit but the point I'd make is that I don't think its more than 50/50 that it was conclusive a head hit. I certainly didn't think it was late and he was committed. Penalty was given however and that allowed Saints to tie the game at 14 all through Tommy Makinson who had replaced the injurt departing O'Brien on goal kicks.

Two minutes later Wigan got the lead back following an amazing 45 metre drop goal by Pat Richards that was nailed from way out wide. I could live for 60 more years and I doubt I'll see a better one than that. Eat your heart out Joe Lydon!

That was so amazing it SHOULD of lifted us towards victory and demoralised Saints but we let them off the hook with some awful discipline in the next ten minutes.

I don't need to point them out because the fact Saints had three penalty goal attempts to re-take the lead said it all. They missed the first two by Makinson were poor misses and again this SHOULD of lifted Wigan and demoralised them but again we failed to enforce that.

Jordan Turner eventually put them ahead on 67 minutes when Blake Green was sin binned for being offside after a team warning.

So now we had 12 men and trailed 16-15 but first chance we got we were back level with a drop goal from Matty Smith.

In the end though that sin bin cost us dear and Tommy Makinson found a gap down the right to break and although he was tackled, a quick play the ball got Joe Greenwood over against a defence that hadn't recovered. That try came with four minutes to go and Wigan had no time to recover.

Sin bin cost us but was no excuse. We'd lost this game in the ten minutes before that yellow card. I ultimately believe this was a game we lost rather than Saints won. We had them their for the taking but couldn't do the job, like we'd failed to do so many times before. Like I said in opening this match report - that is disappointing and comes down to team mentality. But take nothing away from Saints. They deserved the win because their discipline was far, far better!

Reaction to the Action

Coach Shaun Wane: "Saints played out of their skin and we were nowhere near good enough. We didn't help ourselves by turning so much ball over and giving seven penalties away in the last 20 minutes. (Those absent) had knocks on their knees and missed a couple of days at the start of the week. I couldn't afford to risk them with such a short turn-around (to the Challenge Cup Semi Final). That team could and should have won the game. It was two tries apiece at half-time and we bombed two tries. I thought young (Ryan) Hampshire played really well. There were some good performances and a lot of effort. But we didn't help ourselves by turning so much ball over and giving seven penalties away in the last 20 minutes. Saints played out of their skin and we were nowhere near good enough."

St Helens coach Nathan Brown: "I thought our defence was as good as it's been at any stage this year. We hung in there, it was a good result. The boys showed good character. After we dropped the ball over the line and they scored, we defended our line for a long period and I suppose that was the difference in the game. It was by far our best performance to date and it would be nice to finish the year off with more performances like that at home."

Team Sheets

- St Helens Position Wigan 1
7 Jonny Lomax Full Back Ryan Hampshire 32
21 Tommy Makinson

Winger

Josh Charnley 2
3 Jordan Turner Centre Darrell Goulding 3
5 Francis Meli Centre Anthony Gelling 22
26 Adam Swift Winger Pat Richards 5
12 Jon Wilkin Stand Off Blake Green 6
37 Gareth O'Brien Scrum Half Matty Smith 7
11 Tony Puletua Prop Gil Dudson 20
36 Stuart Howarth Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
14 Anthony Laffranchi Prop Lee Mossop 10
19 Josh Jones 2nd Row Chris Tuson 16
13 Willie Manu 2nd Row Liam Farrell 12
10 Louie McCarthy-
Scarsbrook
L.Forward Greg Burke 29
-
1 Paul Wellens Substitute Ben Flower 15
16 Paul Clough Substitute Scott Taylor 21
24 Joe Greenwood Substitute Logan Tomkins 23
25 Alex Walmsley Substitute Dom Crosby 26
- Nathan Brown Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

St Helens 22 --- Wigan Warriors 16

Tries (3):
Adam Swift 2
Joe Greenwood

---

Tries (3):
Pat Richards
Josh Charnley 2

Goals:
Gareth O'Brien 2/2
Tommy Makinson 1/3
Jordan Turner 2/2
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 1/3
--- --- Drop Goals:
Pat Richards 1
Matty Smith 1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

09mins:17 St Helens 04 Wigan 00 Try: Adam Swift
- St Helens 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Gareth O'Brien (1/1)
15mins:25 St Helens 10 Wigan 00 Try: Adam Swift (2)
- St Helens 12 Wigan 00 Conversion: Gareth O'Brien (2/2)
24mins:30 St Helens 12 Wigan 04 Try: Pat Richards
- St Helens 12 Wigan 04 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/1)
38mins:13 St Helens 12 Wigan 08 Try: Josh Charnley
- St Helens 12 Wigan 08 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/2)
Half Time St Helens 12 Wigan Warriors 08
45mins:56 St Helens 12 Wigan 12 Try: Josh Charnley (2)
- St Helens 12 Wigan 14 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/3)
54mins:48 St Helens 14 Wigan 14 Penalty Goal: Tommy Makinson (1/1)
57mins:11 St Helens 14 Wigan 15 Drop Goal: Pat Richards
63mins:25 St Helens 14 Wigan 15 T.Makinson Missed Penalty Goal (1/2)
65mins:41 St Helens 14 Wigan 15 T.Makinson Missed Penalty Goal (1/3)
67mins:25 Wigan Sin Bin Blake Green (Offence after Team Warning)
68mins:37 St Helens 16 Wigan 15 Penalty Goal: Jordan Turner (1/1)
74mins:15 St Helens 16 Wigan 16 Drop Goal: Matty Smith
75mins:53 St Helens 20 Wigan 16 Try: Joe Greenwood
- St Helens 22 Wigan 16 Conversion: Jordan Turner (2/2)
Full Time St Helens 22 Wigan Warriors 16

Video Highlights

Referee

James Child (Video Referee: Ian Smith)

Match Attendance

14,204

Weather

Dry, sticky hot night.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 18 - Round 22

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Huddersfield Giants 22 17 0 5 703 421 +282 34
2 Wigan Warriors 22 16 1 5 736 338 +398 33
3 Warrington Wolves 22 16 1 5 721 373 +348 31
4 Leeds Rhinos 21 13 1 7 559 403 +156 27
5 Catalan Dragons 22 11 2 9 544 514 +30 24
6 Hull Kingston Rovers 22 12 0 10 546 619 -73 24
7 St Helens 22 11 1 10 534 467 +67 23
8 Hull FC 22 9 2 11 478 449 +29 20
9 Wakefield Wildcats 21 9 1 11 540 568 -28 19
10 Bradford Bulls 22 8 2 12 490 539 -49 18
11 Widnes Vikings 22 7 2 13 571 695 -124 16
12 Castleford Tigers 22 6 2 14 508 703 -195 14
13 Salford City Reds 22 6 1 15 369 779 -410 *11*
14 London Broncos 22 3 2 17 393 820 -427 8

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

Round 22 Results
Fri 19 July Bradford Bulls 19 Hull FC 12 7,914
Fri 19 July Leeds Rhinos 20 Wakefield Wildcats 18 18,387
Fri 19 July Salford City Reds 16 Catalan Dragons 12 2,200
Fri 19 July Widnes Vikings 38 London Broncos 12 4,870
Sun 21 July Huddersfield Giants 48 Castleford Tigers 32 5,733
Sun 21 July Warrington Wolves 34 Hull Kingston Rovers 6 9,838
Mon 22 July St Helens 22 Wigan Warriors 16 14,204

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