I thought this was Wigan's best all round performance of the
season. Not pretty, because the conditions didn't allow for that,
but they scored some great tries to demoralise Catalan in a defeat
The only real downside was a woeful 1 from 8 conversion
rate by Ryan Hampshire. Tough windy conditions would excuse for some of the misses but the last miss from easy range topped off a difficult day. Slight cause for concern but Matty Smith wasn't kicking due to a
"tight hamstring" and he will return to kicking extras on Thursday
Rocky though played his part in a good attacking display despite
driving rain and the notorious heavy pitch at the DW. It was sloppy early on to be fair and Catalan had two
early opportunities near the try line, one after a 40/20 by Scott
Dureau, but Wigan muscled up well in defence.
Then on the quarter hour, Wigan got an opportunity from a close
scrum and quick simple hands saw Dan Sarginson send Joe Burgess in
the left corner.
Space always looked on via the left wing and the second try also
came that way with Sarginson going himself this time through a big
That was 8-0 after 22 minutes and Wigan began to take control
with the interchange option of Tony Clubb being a particular
advantage. Dom Crosby also had a great return starting the game,
albeit from an unusual loose forward position.
Towards half time, two more tries came. Dom Manfredi got over in
the right corner on 29 minutes and then a minute before the break,
Joel Tomkins pass got Hampshire away and Anthony Gelling finished
off. No conversions so far left the score at just 16-0 half time.
Wigan had been guilty of poor second halves this season,
particularly at Widnes and Hull KR where they bombed big leads. So
I'm hoping for some control at the start of the second half. Simple
stuff was all that was required and although it stifled some attack
for a while, they saw that period out well, bar a couple of
Then once they found a try on 56 minutes, they were able to kick
on. The try that broke the second half came from a break by Burgess
up his left wing and Hampshire was in support to finish an 80 metre
move. He was able to convert that one for 22-0.
That try broke Catalan and Wigan found three more scores in the
final quarter. Dom Manfredi scored two, to complete a hat-trick,
either side of Burgess claiming his second. The last try by
Manfredi came from a great kick by Hampshire, nicely weighted and
Job done though and we now turn to Warrington. Josh Charnley,
Sam Powell, Sean O'Loughlin all come back into contention for that
and with the suspension of Ben Flower ending also, it's not a bad
position to be in at the end of the tough Easter run.
I see small signs that we are beginning to turn the corner this
season, but Warrington will be another big test of that and then we
need to start finding form away. Shaun Wane has alluded to the fact
we have been "good in patches" this season but I think those
patches are getting longer and better. He still admits though that
he wants "to see a good month" of consistency before getting
carried away and that has to be the target.
What pleased me most
here was the patience. If we didn't score we forced two or three
drop outs to keep the pressure on. Then we controlled the lead we
had built in the second half. Those are things we were failing on
earlier in the season, so it is progress being made.