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Match Report: Sydney Roosters 36 Wigan 14
Posted by Bilko on February 22 2014 - 19:17

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Saturday 22nd February 2014
Sydney Roosters 36 Wigan Warriors 14
Allianz Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
World Club Challenge

Kick Off 8:10pm (9:10am UK)


- Wigan       - Sydney Roosters    
1 Matty Bowen       1 Anthony Minichiello    
2 Josh Charnley  T2      5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall  T   
3 Darrell Goulding       4 Mitchell Aubusson    
23 Dan Sarginson       3 Michael Jennings  T3   
32 Joe Burgess  T      2 Daniel Tupou    
6 Blake Green       6 James Maloney    G6 
7 Matty Smith    G    7 Mitchell Pearce    
10 Ben Flower       8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves  T   
9 Michael McIlorum       9 Jake Friend    

Gil Dudson


Sam Moa

14 Jack Hughes       11 Boyd Cordner    
12 Liam Farrell       12 Sonny Bill Williams    
13 Sean O'Loughlin       13 Frank-Paul Nuuausala    
8 Scott Taylor       14 Daniel Mortimer    
17 Dom Crosby       15 Aidan Guerra    
22 Eddy Pettybourne       16 Dylan Napa    
25 John Bateman       17 Rémi Casty    


In club experience. It is a huge advantage to have in your locker and I think that's what ground Wigan down in this World Club Challenge match against Sydney.

Five of our eight most experienced within the club (by that I mean appearances for Wigan) players from last season had departed in the off season and I don't care who the side is, any champion side losing that amount of within the club experience would struggle in an early season World Club Challenge.

One of those five was Gareth Hock to be fair but just put that in some context....

The other recent Super League Champion side has been Leeds and their top 8 in club experience is Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Ryan Bailey, Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai, Ryan Hall.

Take any five (or even four to not count Hock) of those players away from that Leeds team - do you reckon they'd do well on an away trip to Sydney?  I think they'd struggle as well, particularly if one of those is goal kicker Sinfield. That's the context you need to remember when thinking about this game. The Roosters didn't really have that kind of disruption.

The disappointment though for Wigan will be regrets. A Wigan player going out there today would not have wanted to leave the field with any regrets and sadly they left with plenty.

I only woke up at 8:40am this morning and my first reaction upon seeing the team news was that Wigan needed to get to the interchange period with damage limitation. I really fancied our bench compared to theirs to be honest but sadly we were 18-0 down before they could take force.

Coach Wane obviously wanted impact and the fact the Roosters found only a gift intercept try between 21 and 66 minutes perhaps shows that it was a good tactic to use?

I didn't think Wigan had started that badly in both attack and defence, they certainly put themselves about with the big hits. However, the Roosters were clinical near our goal line. Michael Jennings opening the scoring within three minutes and that couldn't have been a worse start. Then further tries for Sam Moa and a lucky bounce for Jennings' saw us 18-0 down, the conversions from James Maloney being a massive dagger in the heart.

I'm sure everyone at this point though was thinking, "oh god, this could be 50 or 60". I certainly did. But Wigan's defence improved a lot when those interchanges came into affect, a quality tackle by Joe Burgess to deny Shaun Kenny-Dowall the highlight.

One of those big regrets I think was during this spell. Just as we started to get into a defensive rhythm, our attack was at its worst. Forward passes and knock on's all over the second quarter of the game from Wigan.

Still at 18-0 our hope wasn't dead. Even more so when Joe Burgess scored three minutes after the re-start, our eyes began to widen! Wigan had the second half really well and got good reward with Budgie finding the overlap on the left. Smith couldn't convert though. 18-4 the score.

Then came another big regret. Two minutes later, sloppy Wigan play gave Jennings the mother of all gift tries for the hat-trick. However.....looking back at the Sky+, I'm convinced he failed to ground the ball. The ball bounces up and, although I could be seeing it through rose tinted glasses, I don't think it's grounded.

Either way that was such a pisser for Wigan. 18-4 became 24-4 in an instant. Credit is due that Wigan didn't give up. They kept fighting and got it back to 24-14. Josh Charnley scoring both. The first a return gift after two Roosters failed to defend a bomb, but the second was a great finish. Only one conversion out of the two from Smith left Wigan still chasing a two score deficit.

Leaves you wondering what the game could have been like had we not given Jennings that intercept, or whether they'd checked his grounding. 18-14 would have made for an interesting last 20 minutes.

It still was interesting but once Jarea Warea-Hargreaves scored on 66 minutes, taking advantage of a Gil Dudson knock on, Wigan's fightback was nailed shut. Another try for Kenny-Dowall soon after completed the win.

At the end of the day, the best side won though. The Roosters own time of year fitness levels contributed to the Wigan positives to be fair but they were full of quality all game. Their last tackle was a key factor. Ours was way off in comparison.

Given we were 18-0 down after 20 minutes, I think the fact it didn't get any worse has to be seen as a positive. Wigan were far from their best but Charnley and McIlorum not having proper pre seasons, whilst captain O'Loughlin also carried an injury made it even tougher.

Wigan need to draw from the experience going forward. The delight from the game was the efforts of Burgess and Sarginson on the left. Very strong. Jennings did his damage against Charnley and Goulding on the other side after all.

I thought the pack competed well. Losing Pettybourne (shoulder) in the 50th Minute was another blow to remember whilst we were gathering momentum.

Have to comment on the big negative though. Matty Bowen. I said on Wish FM during the Saints commentary three weeks ago that he looked way off the pace and I still think so after that display tonight. A full back not attempting to leap for bombs on two occasions is very worrying. Especially one so experienced in Australia, ten origin appearances no less.

He looks off it mentally for whatever reason. I think it's been tough for him though. Since he arrived in Wigan in early January, I reckon with the USA pre season trip and this trip added on, he's spent more time out of the country than in Wigan so far. He looks like an unsettled player and I'm certainly not going to write him off so soon in his Cherry & White career.....but with Ryan Hampshire bursting for a big opportunity, he's going to struggle to hold onto his first team place on the form shown so far.

Anyway, draw from the experience of that trip Wigan and let's move on. Wakefield at home next Sunday. That's a bit of a climb down from this isn't it. Should be an interesting afternoon though with many of this World Club Challenge team expected to be rested.

02mins:40 Roosters 04 Wigan 00 Try: Michael Jennings
- Roosters 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: James Maloney (1/1)
12mins:18 Roosters 10 Wigan 00 Try: Sam Moa
- Roosters 12 Wigan 00 Conversion: James Maloney (2/2)
21mins:09 Roosters 16 Wigan 00 Try: Michael Jennings (2)
- Roosters 18 Wigan 00 Conversion: James Maloney (3/3)
Half Time Sydney Roosters 18 Wigan Warriors 00
43mins:17 Roosters 18 Wigan 04 Try: Joe Burgess
- Roosters 18 Wigan 04 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (0/1)
45mins:31 Roosters 22 Wigan 04 Try: Michael Jennings (Hat-Trick)
- Roosters 24 Wigan 04 Conversion: James Maloney (4/4)
51mins:29 Roosters 24 Wigan 08 Try: Josh Charnley
- Roosters 24 Wigan 10 Conversion: Matty Smith (1/2)
58mins:40 Roosters 24 Wigan 14 Try: Josh Charnley (2)
- Roosters 24 Wigan 14 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (1/3)
66mins:16 Roosters 28 Wigan 14 Try: Jared Warea-Hargreaves
- Roosters 30 Wigan 14 Conversion: James Maloney (5/5)
70mins:11 Roosters 34 Wigan 14 Try: Shaun Kenny-Dowall
- Roosters 36 Wigan 14 Conversion: James Maloney (6/6)
Full Time Sydney Roosters 36 Wigan Warriors 14

Ben Cummins & Gerard Sutton (NRL Two Ref System)



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