Wigan may have been arriving at the Halliwell Jones with a record
of winning just three out of twelve at away venues all season but
the way this panned out was not a surprise to me.
Chris Sandow video was car crash marketing. Nice idea and it
would have worked but for the fact Warrington's season was already
needing several snookers to survive even before this game.
The mood of the Warrington fans said it all. Normally they are
cock-a-hoop with Wigan visiting and sensing blood due to Wigan's
record of losing 10 of the 12 league meetings at the ground. This
time though the home atmosphere, of which I was sat amongst
commentating for Wish FM, was akin to a wake.
Warrington did have plenty of effort but I always felt that
Wigan had a big opportunity to pin them down and then cash in some
revenge for all those miserable trips we've endured there. To
become the first side to nil them there makes up slightly for some
of those arduous visits.
The early try settled Wigan down. Mistake by Stefan Ratchford in
the in goal gifted one to Liam Farrell and with Matty Bowen on goal
kicking it was 6-0 in four minutes. Interesting to hear after that
Matty Smith took himself off goal kicking last week rather than, as
assumed, being given the flick by coach Shaun Wane.
Helped quite often by poor penalties conceded by Wigan,
Warrington did have chance to hit back but the attack was more
flatulent than a horse with diarrhoea. Totally clueless.
A second try put Wigan in full command and this was a cracker.
Lovely reverse pass by Matty Smith hitting a great diagonal run by
Tony Clubb, not long since on the field, and Bowen converted for
12-0 after 18 minutes.
You could tell that one more try would see Warrington collapse
but the only surprise to me was that it took 30 minutes game time
to come. Again Warrington had territory to hit back during that
time but never looked like doing so.
Wigan always looked to be gaining metres easily and they finally
broke Warrington's backs in the 48th minute. Passing when right and
despite a sloppy pass from Joel Tomkins, John Bateman picked up to
Bowen was kicking some good conversions, this one for 18-0, but
on 55 minutes he missed a penalty for 20-0. Wrong option for me
because I felt Warrington were finished and we should have gone for
the jugular but it didn't matter because Wigan found a try a minute
A lovely cross field kick from Bowen was batted back superbly by
Manfredi to give Bateman his second score. Again Mango Bowen
converted well for 24-0.
Three minutes after that Wigan scored again with a superb break
up the gut by Sean O'Loughlin, rolling back the years, and the
effort to get up in support was excellent. "Give it to Oli" I
shouted on the radio but Lockers found George Williams first before
he found Oliver Gildart for a try that capped an efficient debut.
Bowen missed this kick but at 28-0 you could only see more scoring
in the final quarter.
Strangely no further scoring occurred, perhaps because Wigan's
focus turned to the nil. They wanted it and they got it despite
Warrington not giving up on finding at least one score.
So 28-0 is how it finished and Wigan did not let that Sandow
video lie with
Anthony Gelling producing his own unique response. Warrington
are left to stew on their season being over in August, Wigan now
have big eyes on reaching Old Trafford. Can we hit the form at the
right time of the season again to get there for a third season in a