I felt pre
match that the balance between regulars and youth was a
good one for this opening pre season match and we got to
see a good even contest between Leigh and Wigan.
recognised names in the Wigan side included a few who have
plenty to prove in 2016. Anthony Gelling and Josh Charnley
need to respond to being dropped late last season. Lee
Mossop had a poor 2015 by his own acknowledgement whilst
Taulima Tautai's season ending suspension last year was met
with little bother. Sam Powell also is still to convince as
a bench hooker whilst Lewis Tierney obviously has a big
chance at full back with Ryan Hampshire on loan at
Castleford and Sam Tomkins injured until April.
has nothing to prove though and he was excellent in the
opening quarter. In fact Wigan started great all round.
They completed all their early sets and made no errors in
the opening quarter. This helped them into a 14-0 lead.
try was a gift one. Good kick in terms of position from Sam
Powell but it should have been easily taken by Greg
McNally. He fumbled though and Charnley pounced in the
corner for 4-0 with the conversion missing. Then a brace
for Liam Marshall in the right corner took Wigan into a
14-0 lead inside 15 minutes and all was happy in the camp.
Interchanges saw the tide change though. Mossop's
introduction for Flower was flatulent to say the least with
him being guilty of penalty conceding on two or three
occasions. Leigh eased back into the game from that with
tries from Liam Kay and Adam Higson helping them back to
14-10. Then two minutes before half time, Luke Davico
sympathiser Sam Hopkins turned up to crash over and it was
16-14 to Leigh at the break.
suffered a blow just before the break also with Stand Off
Nick Gregson being lost injured for the rest of the match.
Seven minutes into the second half though, Wigan scored a
great 70 metre try to re-take the lead. Charnley made the
half break before Gabriel Fell was clear away. I'm not sure
why he didn't score himself but he offloaded for Lewis
Tierney to finish and Powell converted to put Wigan 20-16
Frustrating for Wigan however was that Leigh were back
level within three minutes. An error gave position for
McNally to score and it was now 20-20.
Tautai had now taken over from Mossop as chief penalty
conceder and this eventually helped Leigh take the lead
just after the hour mark with a try from ex Wigan academy
Jamie Acton. I thought another ex Wigan lad Tom Spencer had
a great spell at this point as well.
led 26-20 into the final quarter but Wigan never gave up
having a decent dig to come back. Leigh's half back
experience was telling at times but they really did show
their desperation to win this match when Rangi Chase
attempted a drop goal for 27-20. Laughable to be doing that
in pre season I think but there you go. His effort went
well wide anyway.
scoring occurred so it finished 26-20 to Leigh. Overall I
felt this was quite a good effort from the young Wigan
side. Take the penalties away (10-4 count against Wigan)
and their was little to complain about from this display.
Pre season isn't so much about result but you can set a
good tone for the season ahead and compared to last years
visit to Leigh, the tone set was far better. It was a good
hit out for both sides.
outfit is expected to play against Salford next week but
I'm also sure the likes of Liam Marshall, Luke Waterworth
and Jack Wells will get another chance to impress also.