Discipline, discipline, discipline. It's been a moan all season but
Wigan finally sorted themselves out and that helped get them over
the line in a gruelling derby against St Helens. 8-2 was the
penalty count in Wigan's favour and, on a heavy pitch with scoring
at a premium, that was a big difference.
It wasn't all about that though. Wigan's endeavour in defence
was aggressive but nicely controlled and James Roby's impact was
totally nullified apart from the ten minutes up to half time when
Mike McIlorum was interchanged.
The opening try went the way of Dom Manfredi, after just 51
seconds, came after Jordan Turner's kick was charged down by Lee
Mossop and bounced kindly into Manfredi's hands. He still had to
beat three men to finish but his desire was their for all to see.
Easy conversion from Matty Smith made it the perfect start at 6-0.
Saints had twice bundled Wigan into touch on the right before
responding up the other end with a try from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
This came after an injury delay following an ankle injury to Joe
Greenwood that ended his game. Nice finish by LMS but for me you
can add that to the nightmare video of soft tries that Wigan have
conceded from recent weeks.
The conversion should of been easy for Tommy Makinson but he
shanked it right of the posts and those slender two points lost
would be huge with the next 55 minutes of the contest seeing no
Apart from odd exceptions, the majority of those next 55 minutes
were played deep in the boggy midfield. Wigan had to hang in a
little at the back end of the first half but recovered their
composure to control a lot of the second half I thought. Saints
losing Paul Wellens to injury was another big blow to their
I'd said on Wish FM early in the second half that it could be a
game lost by a team rather than won and Saints being caught on the
last tackle, twenty metres from their own line, was that key
mistake in the 69th Minute.
Wigan contributed to it with four superb tackles in a row by
Tony Clubb in the build up but Saints didn't heed Lance Hohaia's
screams for the ball. That was the gift territory that either side
was looking for and Wigan punished with George Williams kick being
collected by Joe Burgess for a repeat of the try seen at Leeds two
That made it 10-4 and the way the game had played out it was
obvious that the conversion was crucial, a two score lead was
always going to be more than enough. With Matty Smith feeling a
hamstring, it was Ryan Hampshire who stepped up to the plate. That
took some guts but he nailed it for 12-4 and that proved to be
Only moans late on were Anthony Gelling twice offloading passes
that just weren't necessary given the situation in the game. He
needs to learn to do better.
So Wigan made it six Easter Derby victories in a row but they
did get some luck along the way. I mean if Saints don't miss the
sitter conversion at 6-4 then it would have been a totally
different game with drop goals being in contention. The two
injuries were costly also for Saints.
But I have to judge this in comparing it to our performances so
far this season. If I was listing my frustrations with Wigan this
season then they sorted a lot of them in this one performance. I'm
still concerned about the lack of points in attack but this is a
good template to build from. We still have a long way to go even on
this effort but I feel Hampshire, Manfredi and Williams could grow
a lot from this performance. It's going to be interesting to see
how we go on from now.
One final thing after watching the video back. Adam Swift aiming
down the left wing late in the match only for Hampshire to come
across and text book tackle him into touch. It left me wondering
whether Matty Bowen would have had the same desire to do that
himself? I'm not saying he wouldn't of done but Rocky has had a
good couple of weeks at Full Back and I think we look a lot better
with a youthful full back.