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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Two minutes later Wigan got the lead back following
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.
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!