Personally I wasn't too disappointed with this defeat at Salford on
Easter Monday. I know its another game added to a run of eight away
games without victory on the road but given it followed Friday's
gruelling battle against St Helens, I didn't think it was too bad a
After playing on a heavy pitch in rain on Friday, the
stark contrast of playing on a hot sunny day wasn't helpful and
whilst I appreciate Salford had a similar turnaround, their is a
whole heap of difference between playing in front of 6,000 at
Huddersfield to playing in front of 24,000 in an emotional and
Salford are improving as well and the fact we've played second
and third in the after Easter league table suggest we've had the
toughest run of anyone over the period.
Generally though I'm just more contented and mellow because Ryan
Hampshire is in the side. He showed with his try in this game what
he can do and I think we should sit on the current line up of full
back and half backs and see how they develop.
I see the arguments still suggesting our current halves aren't
working but I think we should see how it goes with Hampshire being
the option at Full Back. If that doesn't work then maybe a change
will be necessary but it's too early to say on that yet I'd say.
I'm not convinced Matty Smith was fully fit at Salford either,
maybe in hindsight he shouldn't of played?
Things look better going forward as well. Dom Manfredi and Joel
Tomkins missed this game at Salford but are expected to be
available for Catalan along with Dom Crosby. Then for Warrington
we're told Sean O'Loughlin and Josh Charnley will be in contention
for that with Ben Flower obviously back from his suspension for
that game. So all that contributes to my glass being more half full
rather than half empty on this performance.
The game started well for Wigan with a 7th Minute try from Larne
Patrick opening the scoring. It was a nice dash and finish under
the posts and Ryan Hampshire's conversion made it 6-0.
Salford had begun to get into the game over the next few minutes
and for that reason I actually didn't think, at the time, it was
the wrong option to "take the two" on 21 minutes for 8-0.
But it proved wrong because Salford came back towards half time.
I know it's a bit churlish with Salford having lost both Corey
Paterson and Tommy Lee to match ending injuries in the first half
but our loss of Tony Clubb (hip) off the interchange was a blow.
Salford hit back on 26 minutes with good combination between
Rangi Chase and Michael Dobson getting Niall Evalds over near the
posts for an easy Josh Griffin conversion to make it 8-6.
Then on 35 minutes they cut us up left from half way and Dobson
finished the move. My biggest memory of that try, from commentating
on the sideline, was Logan Tomkins having a huge struggle to get
anywhere near Dobson on that break. He wouldn't have been off the
bench long but seemed to have concrete boots in attempting to
So that was 12-8 at half time and Salford had probably deserved
that. The start to the second half was pretty even and the next try
was always looking crucial and it went Salford's way unfortunately.
It came from a poor kick from George Williams being collected by
Rangi Chase. Salford quickly got on the move and eventually Ben
Jones-Bishop broke to score. Near the posts, so an easy conversion
made it 18-8. Disappointment for Williams who early had been
unlucky to not find Ryan Sutton for a try with a nice chip but I
actually think Chase deserves some credit for defending his kicks
I suppose another reason for my glass being half full about this
game is because Wigan never gave up at 18-8. After an incident had
seen both John Bateman and Weller Hauraki sin binned on 66 minutes,
Rocky Hampshire scored a great try under the posts on 68 minutes to
make it 18-14 after he converted.
The disappointment was that Wigan had two sets to pressure after
that but Larne Patrick knocked on both times off memory. One I'd
blame him, the other I'd blame the pass but that lack of composure
stopped a late rally.
Salford found the match winning try with four minutes to go and
it was a kind of repeat of Good Friday. Lewis Tierney had no choice
but to defend a kick into touch and Salford had got the ball in the
right position, just like we had done in the Saints match.
You sensed the try would come and Evald's second made it 24-14
and game over. Yet in the final two minutes their was still time
for the returning sin bin men Hauraki and Bateman to get sent off
with red cards this time. "Toddler Biff" (that's an all pile in
with no punches thrown) had broken out but considering no punches,
it was strange to remove them. Their subsequent discipline charges
have come from the sin bin incident rather than the red card by the
After than Wigan did get a consolation try from Joe Burgess but
it was too late with just 40 seconds to go. It finished 24-18 and
although our worst run of away form since the 1979-80 relegation
season continues, personally I think we should fully judge easter
on where we lie after the Warrington game on April 16th.