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Match Report: Wigan 12 Catalan 6
Posted by Bilko on February 06 2016 - 15:50

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Friday 5th February 2016
Wigan Warriors 12 Catalan Dragons 6
DW Stadium, Wigan
First Utility Super League 21 - Round 1 of 23

Kick Off 8:00pm


- Wigan       - Catalan    
22 Lewis Tierney       1 Tony Gigot    
5 Dom Manfredi       20 Fouad Yaha    
3 Anthony Gelling       3 Krisnan Inu    
4 Dan Sarginson       4 Vincent Duport    
2 Josh Charnley       5 Pat Richards    G 
6 George Williams       6 Todd Carney    
7 Matty Smith    G2    7 Richie Myler    
10 Ben Flower       8 Louis Anderson    
9 Michael McIlorum  T2      9 Paul Aiton    

Sean O'Loughlin

      15 Julian Bousquet    
25 Willie Isa       11 Glenn Stewart    
12 Liam Farrell       12 Justin Horo  T   
14 John Bateman       13 Jason Baitieri    
15 Tony Clubb       14 Dave Taylor    
16 Sam Powell       16 Eloi Pelissier    
19 Taulima Tautai       17 Grégory Mounis    
21 Ryan Sutton       19 Olivier Elima    


Well the pitch at the DW was knackered even before the kick off of this season opener against Catalan Dragons. Latics hosting a Youth Cup match against Manchester City, that went to extra time in pouring rain on Tuesday, trashed the surface and it left for a retro match that harked back to the winter days that ended 20 years ago.

Given the awful conditions, I thought Wigan produced a very efficient performance. It was obvious that getting down field was not going to be easy without either errors or penalties and we played the conditions far better than the French visitors.

Especially in the first half. Wigan were pretty error free whilst Catalan were penalised for incorrect play the ball on at least four occasions. Those errors produced gift attacking territory but early on, kicking early in the tackle count tactics proved a failure under poor execution.

Eventually though, Wigan got the lead from another Catalan error. A poor pass towards Krisnan Inu ended up with Micky McIlorum touching a loose ball down from two metres out. It was just to the left of the posts but Matty Smith started his goal kicking season with an embarrassing miss that was almost reminiscent of the famous Don Fox miss in the 1968 Wembley "water splash" final.

So Wigan led 4-0 after 15 minutes and three minutes later McIlorum scored again. Great footwork from George Williams almost got him over but his offload found Micky and he scored almost in the same spot as the first try. Smith converted this time for 10-0.

Catalan's handling of the conditions had been awful but the nearer half time came, the more they started to find themselves in attacking zones. It would have been a bit harsh had Wigan gone into the sheds with a score anything less than the 10 point lead they had but they were hanging on as the hooter sounded.

Into the second half and an error on the kick off allowed Catalan to quickly find their first score of the season. I thought generally Lewis Tierney did ok in difficult conditions but in this instance he's not the first player to be deceived by the flight of a Pat Richards kick off.

Tierney though was perhaps guilty of misjudgement on a kick that went through for Justin Horo to score before he could kick it dead. I still don't get why players always try to flick or kick the ball dead behind the goal line when all you need to do is ground the ball in goal, in effect score an "own try" so to speak. If he throws his body on that it'd be harder for Horo to score surely? It was a close call and experience should help him learn from that but it got Catalan back in the game at 10-6 after Pat Richards converted.

Catalan continued to press but a poor kick eventually saw Tony Clubb with space to make a rare break up the field that was only halted by a swinging arm from Grégory Mounis. That resulting penalty got Wigan further up the field. and eventually another penalty was given in kicking range.

With the pitch getting worse, and territory gain obviously being tough, it was a no brainier for Wigan to "take the two" and Smith slotted for 12-6.

I said on the radio at this point that "12-6 isn't a big lead, but tonight it is a big lead, if you know what I mean". I meant by that, that getting to the try line was so tough that getting to 12-6 meant we now didn't necessarily have to get to the try line because a drop goal or penalty goal can be kicked from any decent range.

Given that, I was flabbergasted that Wigan did not once try to set up for the one pointer in the final 25 minutes. It was increasingly obvious that if Wigan got 13-6 that the game was done. Catalan were not scoring twice but their is always a chance they could find one try.

It would have been a harsh injustice had Catalan got back to 12-12 but had they done so, Wigan would have only themselves to blame. They got in position four or five times but kept going towards the left wing rather than setting up the drop goal.

In fairness we did have two tries chalked off attacking the left but I still find it bizarre that their seemed no thought towards what I thought was blindly obvious, going for a drop goal.

It didn't matter in the end because Wigan saw out the time well and overall, given the conditions, this was a good start. Pre season was a bit of a mess but the lads actually looked pretty fresh here. They worked hard for this win and they'll be hoping to build on it away at Huddersfield next week.

14mins:03 Wigan 04 Catalan 00 Try: Michael McIlorum
Wigan 04 Catalan 00 Missed Conversion: Matty Smith (0/1)
17mins:32 Wigan 08 Catalan 00 Try: Michael McIlorum (2)
Wigan 10 Catalan 00 Conversion: Matty Smith (1/2)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 10 Catalan Dragons 00
41mins:21 Wigan 10 Catalan 04 Try: Justin Horo
Wigan 10 Catalan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
52mins:43 Wigan 12 Catalan 06 Penalty Goal: Matty Smith (2/3)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 12 Catalan Dragons 06

Ben Thaler



First Utility Super League 21 - Round 1 Results
Thu 4 Feb Leeds Rhinos 10 Warrington Wolves 12 16,168
Fri 5 Feb Hull FC 42 Salford Red Devils 20 12,265
Fri 5 Feb St Helens 30 Huddersfield Giants 16 10,408
Fri 5 Feb Wigan Warriors 12 Catalan Dragons 6 13,346
Sun 7 Feb Hull Kingston Rovers 16 Castleford Tigers 16 11,011
Sun 7 Feb Wakefield Wildcats 16 Widnes Vikings 24 5,240

2016 First Utility Super League 21 Table - After This Round
- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Hull FC 1 1 0 0 42 20 +22 2
2 St Helens 1 1 0 0 30 16 +14 2
3 Widnes Vikings 1 1 0 0 24 16 +8 2
4 Wigan Warriors 1 1 0 0 12 6 +6 2
5 Warrington Wolves 1 1 0 0 12 10 +2 2
6 Castleford Tigers 1 0 1 0 16 16 - 1
7 Hull Kingston Rovers 1 0 1 0 16 16 - 1
8 Leeds Rhinos 1 0 0 1 10 12 -2 0

Top 8 Qualify for "Super 8s" after Round 23 / Top 4 Qualify for Play Offs

9 Catalan Dragons 1 0 0 1 6 12 -6 0
10 Wakefield Wildcats 1 0 0 1 16 24 -8 0
11 Huddersfield Giants 1 0 0 1 16 30 -14 0
12 Salford Red Devils 1 0 0 1 20 42 -22 0

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