A night that promised so much, delivered very little from a Wigan
point of view. Beaten by a miles better side who were quicker and
stronger in all departments.
I sat there early second half doing the radio commentary and all
I kept saying was how our pack was beaten already. I watched as
neither Scott Taylor or Dom Crosby took a drive in for two whole
sets of six. Neither was looking for work. A clear sign to me that
we have bolted for fitness.
Leeds just looked so much faster than us. They kicked superbly
and in the main held their discipline for most of the 80 minutes.
Simple stuff but very effective. Four drop outs forced says it all.
Wigan's only credit was our defence was excellent for most of
the game but the attack is well and truly shot to pieces and has
been every since the Exiles break.
Under Shaun Wane, Wigan now have a 0 wins from 8 record against
Leeds, Warrington, Huddersfield and St Helens in matches after the
Mid June Exiles match break over the past two seasons.
People can point to Sean O'Loughlin's absence if they want, but
for me it is straw clutching. Sam Tomkins absence was the excuse
not long ago but the reality is we weren't winning these games when
them two were playing fit and well earlier in the season.
We haven't beaten any of our top 4 rivals home or away (did beat
Leeds at Magic) and O'Loughlin played in three of those games
earlier in the campaign and those big game contests lost at the end
of last year also. It is a long standing issue.
Basically you just cannot get away from the fact that our
seasons have contrasted two years in a row now either side of that
mid June Exiles match break. In big games, we just haven't shown.
Why? is the question being begged.
For me I think the easy run of fixtures mid season hasn't helped
us one bit. It put us into a false position and the tough run of
games has shown a lot of Wigan players up.
If O'Loughlin is out, someone else needs to rise to the occasion
and fill his boots. In fact we need three or four doing it but it
just isn't happening. I'm not seeing much beating of the chest from
Wigan and the enthusiasm looks way off.
Contrast this from the effort the "kids" put in the week before
and no wonder the fans went mental on twitter after this one. It
was just awful to watch.
But like I said, credit Leeds. They really dominated the fixture
and it was only our defence that kept us in it. They forced three
drop outs first half but the only try they claimed was an intercept
by Ben Jones-Bishop who returned a woeful pass by Blake Green 90
metres in the 23rd Minute.
That 4-0 lead (conversion missed) was no more than Leeds
deserved but amazingly it was Wigan who went into half time with
the lead. Blake Green broke out of Kallum Watkins' missed tackle
and he was away from 60 metres out. Pat Richards was in support and
after full back Hardaker had been drawn in, the pass to Pat was
perfect for him to score, especially with Danny McGuire's chasing
pace being none existent. Easy conversion made it 6-4 at half time.
Biggest disappointment for me was that Wigan surrendered that
lead within two minutes of the restart. Scott Taylor receiving
treatment in back play didn't help, but an offload got Carl Ablett
chiming towards the line and the tackle attempt from Sam Tomkins
was pretty poor. Sinfield converted for 10-6 to Leeds.
Exactly the same thing had happened in the Huddersfield match
last month. They took the lead early second half and then it was a
spell of us knowing that if they got a two score lead we were
Same here and that two score lead came with a great try from
Joel Moon on the hour mark. Good offload from Hall and strength got
him over. Kallum Watkins added another soon after and that
completed the scoring with a 20-6 win for the visitors.
Interesting first tweet I saw when I got home last night was one
panning Andy Powell. I thought that was well harsh. Ok the high
shot penalty first half was disappointing but on almost every hit
up he made he was looking for the offload and sadly Wigan's players
were not on the ball most the time. Harrison Hansen was guilty two
or three times of being flat footed. Personally I'd question why
Powell didn't return before Leeds had got 16-6 up because, like I
said earlier, Crosby and Taylor looked well beaten. Powell was the
best of the forwards for me and I'd keep him in.
The Rhinos meanwhile looked pretty strong and a sixth league
title in seven seasons will take some stopping from either
Huddersfield or Warrington. If Wigan end up stopping them, then I
reckon a minor miracle will have occurred after the displays of the