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Wigan Evening Post 18th Man Column - 14th April
Posted by Bilko on April 16 2015 - 10:09

You can argue that Catalan were poor if you want but Wigan did a great job on what was put up in front of them last Sunday. In terms of an all round performance, I thought this was the best of the season so far.

The conditions were poor regardless of the now notoriously heavy DW Stadium pitch but yet Wigan still scored some great tries and it was pleasing to see Dom Manfredi complete his first Wigan hat-trick.

With Burgess and Charnley being first choice picks in the past, Dom has kind of drifted under the radar at Wigan but that’s 17 tries in 20 appearances so far, which is more than both Budgie (16) and Josh (14) had scored after they’d played 20 games.

So that is some pace and it begs the question on how does Charnley get back in this team? He’s back in contention for the Warrington match and for me it’s harsh to drop Dom and Burgess seems past his defensive jitters of a month ago. Put it this way I haven’t heard anyone suggest his “head’s in Australia” for a while.

Some are well on Josh’s back and saying he has been playing poorly but lest they forget he has scored 133 tries in 126 Wigan games. Probably the same people questioning him are the ones who were on Budgie’s back not so long ago?

Either way, it’s a really tough call to make on the wings. Maybe Charnley could be an option to pressure the centre positions but both Gelling and Sarginson scored on Sunday also.

Speaking of Sarge, did you notice the blond rinse he’s had inflicted on him? Apparently this was a forfeit because he was late for a massage. I’m thinking that a certain respected rugby journalist of this paper (intials PW) should endure the same forfeit after news broke that he had scandalously bet on Saints to beat Huddersfield! Shocking stuff!

The quick turnaround to Thursday’s match with Warrington will offer another big test for Wigan. It might not end up being the biggest story on the night, time will tell, but the return of Ben Flower offers plenty of intrigue to the game.

I’m sure his notorious Grand Final incident will still wrangle with some Wigan fans but for me he was a human who made a bad mistake. He deserves a second chance and I’ve no doubt he’ll reward us with some great performances.

His red card obviously harmed our chances in the 2014 Grand Final but his long suspension might end up being a big favour in terms of him being fit and fresh for the rest of 2015. Time will tell.

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