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Wigan Evening Post 18th Man Column - 3rd March
Posted by Bilko on March 05 2015 - 16:10

It was so disappointing at Hull KR on Sunday because the last thirty minutes was a complete replay of the Widnes match that opened the season three weeks earlier.

They had built up a three score lead of fourteen points and that kind of lead in a second half should be enough for us to control the game. It’s not an insurmountable lead by any means, that’s been proven twice now, but the one thing you can’t do is make it easy for the opposition to fight back. Wigan made it too easy for Hull KR, just like they did for a 12 man Widnes side.

Those of you reading that watched Rugby League on Grandstand in the early 1990s will remember the stat they used to flash up. It had a bar graph of “Possession” then underneath it a graph of “Territorial Advantage”. You never see that anymore but had you of done so yesterday it would have been heavily in Rovers favour I suspect.

Territory is so important and Wigan’s failure to win that battle is why we’ve dropped three league points. I haven’t seen a video back but Rovers seemed to be starting their sets continuously on or near half way whilst we were often pinned back on our own line, particularly in the second half. This wasn’t really because of poor pack play. We just didn’t complete our sets well enough.

One clear frustration listening to supporters on the coach home was Wigan’s discipline during the latter part of Sunday’s match. Of course Rugby League is an aggressive sport and things have boiled over in games since time began but surely there is a time and a place?

I struggle to see what we could gain from getting involved in pushing and shoving situations that occurred during that second half, particularly in a match away from home. Even though punches are rarely thrown these days, the every man in type situations get crowds up off their feet and put fire in the bellies of players.

The point I’m making with this is that Wigan had the lead of the game. So surely we should be looking to do exactly the opposite? Keep the crowd quiet and take the sting out of the game. I just think that also contributed to making it easier for Rovers to fight back.

Much as losing a 20-6 lead was disappointing. I won’t mind so much if we bounce back with a good win at Castleford on Friday. They may be winless so far, but they have played far better than that record suggests. It’ll be a huge game and I hope Wigan can pass the test!

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