How ironic that we begin this
season failing to beat 12 men after ending the previous season losing with 12
men but, regardless of the extra man, it was a basic failure of game management
that cost us what would have been an excellent opening day victory.
After an hour, with Wigan leading
22-12, I was very pleased with how the game had gone. We’d score a couple of
good tries and I was drawing great positives from the performances of Taulima
Tautai and John Bateman in particular, but sadly it was spoiled by a poor end
to the game from Wigan.
With ten minutes to go, doing the commentary on Wish FM, I
said that it’d finish a draw because it was inevitable the way it
unfolded. We made it too easy for Widnes
by not completing sets and also perhaps not realising that a drop goal was all
that was required. It doesn’t matter how you win, as long as you win.
I’ve seen fans on message boards
drawing their own conclusions for the collapse but personally I’m not getting
too worked up about it because it was the opening round. I think a lot of rust
was on display that contributed to hindering Wigan and watching Saints v
Catalan on Friday cemented that feeling.
That game at Langtree on Friday
was a horrible watch and for Wigan on Thursday if Joe Burgess takes in a simple
pass, rather than Joe Mellor returning it for a try, and Matty Bowen doesn’t
pass 10 miles forward to a wide open Anthony Gelling then we probably win by 30
at least. I’d be worried if we are doing that in three or four weeks time but
let’s see what this Friday brings before getting carried away by what happened
Like I said though, the positives
came from Bateman and Tautai. What a classy bit of play from Bateman for the
second try that Anthony Gelling scored. He’d already had two busts up the middle
earlier in the game but having moved to centre, because of Josh Charnley’s
departure, his jinking step to commit two defenders made what was a 50/50
attempt at a try in the corner into a simple finish for Gelling. It looked dumb initially for him to run
towards the defenders but it proved to be a quality bit of play in the end.
I couldn’t have been more
impressed by Tautai and his hunger for work. He made 29 tackles and 8.7 metres
made per ball carry according to the stats on the Super League website. For a
debut, that was a great benchmark to set him self, let’s hope he can produce
similar every week!