Well some had this down as a meaningful game, others a "glorified
friendly". Me? I was kind of in the middle of that but in the end
our sport cannot ignore the fact almost 21,000 turned out for this
game and my ultimate conclusion is that attending this was way
better than sitting at home with no match to go to.
The match wasn't one of immense quality but it was a hell of a
battle. Wigan should take a lot out of it defensively because they
were under the pump towards the end of the game.
Wigan recalled Dan Sarginson to the centres which meant Joel
Tomkins would revert to the second row. Not that you'd want Sean
O'Loughlin injured but his absent meant Shaun Wane could avoid the
tough call of choosing one of Joel (three tries in two games before
this match), Liam Farrell (started every game played in last two
seasons) or John Bateman (superb so far this year) to drop to the
bench. Arguably Lockers himself might have been sweated most on
form shown so far this year but we'll never know now.
The game had started in pretty even fashion until the 7th Minute
when Joe Burgess gifted Brisbane the opening score with an error
right under his own sticks. I get that Budgie wants to use his pace
to try and find some space but it is a cardinal sin to run towards
your own posts and it was another example that he still has a lot
With the error it was the simplest of touch downs on a loose
ball for Andrew McCullough and easy conversion for Corey Parker to
make it 6-0.
The next 10-15 minutes or so it was very tight but you could
sense that it would already be a long way back if Brisbane found
the next try. Thankfully it was Wigan who scored with a lovely deft
kick from George Williams being touched down to the left of the
posts by Liam Farrell, Matty Smith converting for 6-6.
That score held not just to half time but up until the 55th
Minute. By then what had been a tight affair had begun to see
Brisbane get on top. Losing Taulima Tautai to injury was not
helpful to Wigan and left their other props facing long spells on
the field and they were visibly being ground down.
I was saying on the radio that whilst Brisbane hadn't found a
clean break yet, they were threatening and it came about a minute
after I said it. Alex Glenn made it and it got Brisbane into
territory to threaten. They might have got a very fortunate back to
one but Lachlan Maranta scored in the left corner to put them only
10-6 ahead because Parker couldn't convert.
The match went into it's final quarter but Brisbane had control
and the only thing that looked likely was them getting a further
try to seal the game. Credit Wigan though. They defended
magnificently and they would have taken the fact only a penalty
goal was added by Parker in the 67th Minute when John Bateman was
penalised for an off the ball hit.
The match went into the final ten minutes and although Wigan
continued to look a million miles away from a levelling try, they
did hang in the game and that left hope which produced a
magnificent moment in the 79th Minute.
Wigan were 90 metres away and all hope looked forlorn but
swinging left, Burgess found some space. He was clear, but was
their any support? Well George Williams got on his right side as he
chalked the touchline. It ended up two on one about thirty metres
away and I thought at the time that Budgie had passed to Williams
far too early and it lookd like the try was bombed. It was actually
great full back play from Jordan Kahu but Williams managed to
re-offload to Burgess and a brilliant effort was finished off.
The conversion to force extra time was still needed but Smith
nailed it to make it 12-12 and thus we went to Golden Point.
I must admit I'm not a fan of the idea of next point wins simply
because you could easily lose a game in "Golden Point" without
touching the football, which is nonsense. I can't deny though that
it was exciting but you could possibly argue that Brisbane winning
the toss was a big factor in their victory because they got on the
front foot straight away and never relinquished territory.
This Golden Point ended up being decided by a penalty goal at
the end of the 10 minutes play. Had no score occurred they would of
played on but Corey Parker scored the goal to win the game, despite
Anthony Gelling having cheekily blocked his first attempt.
The experience Brisbane had, being from the NRL were Golden
Point is a regular feature, told significantly I thought. In extra
time it was like they had dug a trench up the middle of the field
and they barely moved off that line towards the drop goal. They
missed a couple of times before trying to go out wide instead but
they hardly moved from the middle of the field.
Wigan meanwhile had less ball but were going left and right
which no real game plan of how to deal with this situation. It was
a different mindset to me and one they should perhaps learn from
because they didn't seem to think about the drop goal at Widnes
either when the score there was at 22-16.
So anyway Brisbane lost but it was a good match to watch and
like I said, it was better to be part of the World Club Series than
not having a match at all.