You don't deserve to win any game if your literally gifting
eighteen points to the opposition and it was simple as that for
Wigan in this derby. You just cannot do that and expect to get away
Who knows what would have happened if those mistakes hadn't
occurred but I suspect we'd have lost narrowly anyway if I'm
What impressed me most about Saints was how methodical they were
in completing sets and putting in kicks that consistently had Wigan
beginning sets within 10 metres of the try line. They didn't get
chance to do that early but after the interchanges took effect,
they got on top enough to do that.
Wigan needed to do that in return but just didn't. They either
didn't complete sets or when they did, the kicks were poor. Matty
Smith in particular was a huge disappointment for me. I can't
recall him and George Williams combining at all in this game with
Williams best efforts coming individually.
That was a big factor because I totally disagree with those
suggesting we were pack dominated. Saints made just 1039 metres on
us which is a tremendous job done by Wigan considering defensively
we had to make 15 sets worth of tackles more than they did. That's
90 more tackles, a hell of a lot. Your always likely to be ground
down with that much extra work.
Wigan made a 1000 metres themselves despite so much less ball
but without good kicks to ends sets it was never looking effective
I thought Wigan had much the better of the first twenty minutes
with an early try helping settle us down after Joe Burgess had to
leave the field after a very early head knock. Saints being guilty
of twice gifting late in the tackle count penalties to us also
helped and Dan Sarginson punished one in the left corner. Matty
Smith converted for 6-0 after 11 minutes.
Like I alluded to, I felt Saints improved when the interchanges
came in and no sooner had that worrisome period of Micky McIlorum
leaving the field occurred, Saints pounced to score twice in the
left corner with first Adam Swift then Jordan Turner scoring. Joel
Tomkins questionable in defence for at least one of those.
It was only 8-6, because Mark Percival failed to convert either,
but I was thinking that we should be happy with that at half time
because Saints continued to press. We got a big bonus though with
Joe Burgess returning a loose ball 90 metres for a try two minutes
from half time. Matty Smith though missed a sitter conversion. Not
good enough really but Wigan led 10-8 at the break.
Saints got the lead back within three minutes of the restart.
Bomb went up, Matty Bowen flapped at it and Travis Burns pounced to
score. Percival converted and it was 14-10 to Saints.
Wigan got into a decent arm wrestle next twenty minutes and
responded with a easy finish for Joel Tomkins down the right but
Smith again failed to convert leaving the scores at 14-14 with just
short of half an hour to go.
Saints then kicked a penalty on 56 minutes to go back in front
at 16-14 but this looked a relieving option for Wigan who had
looked up the pump. However as time wore on, that slender lead
looked a great option, especially when Wigan gifted Saints a second
Again bomb went up, Bowen dropped it and this time Shannon
McDonnell pounced to score. Percival converted for 22-14 and a two
score lead was always looking massive in this kind of game with 15
minutes left. Two minutes later though Wigan completed a hat-trick
of brain farts with Dan Sarginson passing, right under his own
posts, to no one and Jon Wilkin dribbled on to score under the
posts. That made it 28-14 and game over despite over ten minutes
Saints added a late penalty to complete their win but Wigan need
to have a strong review of this one. Credit Saints. I thought they did a proper good job on us but Wigan weren't too far away in
my eyes. That said, when the pressure was turned on us, I failed to see
who was responding to it with strong leadership. Until we fix that
we will always just be short of winning a trophy.