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Wigan Evening Post 18th Man Column - 9th April
Posted by Bilko on April 09 2015 - 23:34

Like I said on Wish FM on Monday commentating on the game, I wasn’t too disappointed with the performance at Salford. Of course it was yet another away day without victory but I just thought, after the gruelling effort on Friday against Saints, it was always going to be a tough ask to back that up.

Despite their Sky televised humbling by Saints earlier in the season, Salford are an improving side and not the pushovers they once were. Arguably, considering Saints finished Easter second in the table and Salford third, we had the toughest Easter of anyone and we won one of those and weren’t too far away in the second game either.

One thing also that perhaps couldn’t be appreciated by those who didn’t attend the game and were back in Wigan on Monday was the weather. I left Wigan in mist and returned to a dull misty Wigan as well. It was hard to believe that in Salford it was bright blue sky and hot sunshine battering the pitch. That was tough on Wigan also after having played in rain on a heavy pitch just three days earlier.

Of course it was the same turnaround for Salford but a visit to play Huddersfield in front of 6,000 just doesn’t compare physically and emotionally to a derby in front of 24,000.

When I got home, I returned to a few twitter comments from fans still worried about our half back combination, and I could appreciate where they are coming from, but I just think Ryan Hampshire getting in, and looking good, at full back will begin to change things. I’d like to think that more buzz from full back will help the half back partnership of Williams and Smith grow going forward.

Hampshire getting in at Full Back has mellowed me in terms of worry about this season so far if I’m honest and so did the Saints victory on Friday. A month earlier we’d lost horribly 42-14 at Castleford and every technical thing we did wrong that night, we did right against Saints, particularly in terms of discipline.

The fact Wigan held their nerve for 55 minutes on a slender 6-4 lead, before pushing on to get the victory, was a significant step I thought. Still not perfect and a long way to go in some departments but a huge step forward, particularly when if you remember that night at Castleford.

I said last week that I’d be happy if Wigan were in fifth place after playing Warrington on April 16th and I still hold that opinion. Let’s see what the next two games bring before fully evaluating the Easter period.

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