So the winning streak in league games at
home that stretched back to June 2014 is over after a
"cheap" loss to league leading Widnes at the DW.
I say "cheap" because that's how Shaun
Wane described the tries we conceded but for me it not the
defence that is a fault. We have been getting away with the
attacking play breaking down for weeks and you can only
push that luck so far before it finally got punished like
Wigan have conceded just 14 points in
first halves this year. That is phenomenally good. We've
only let in another 14 points up to the hour mark but it's
then 52 points conceded in the final quarter because if you
give teams hope, they'll find the inspiration to fight.
The blunt truth is that our defence is
so good early in games, we shouldn't be sweating on
matches. We again had the defensive job done here. Widnes
came with a giddy mood, full of enthusiasm, confidence and
belief that averaging 35 points a match in attack gives
First half though we kept them out to
nil. Helped by a tackle from the invisible man at one point
but, still, they all count. Overall we kept them down to
18, that was job done in my eyes.
Some might say Widnes defended well to
keep us to eight first half but I don't think so. Wigan
have been doing the same crap in attack all year. We get up
towards the try line fine but then it's all pass the parcel
stuff with no idea, no structure and inevitably the attack
crumbles away unless it's a squeeze in the corner for a
Up the other end, Widnes were creating
good defence out of Wigan because they got to the end of
sets most times and got a kick away from Kevin Brown. How
often did Wigan get to the kick? And when they did, why was
it always seemingly Dan Sarginson, Liam Farrell or John
Bateman types who were putting the kicks in?
For me, the attack has been doing the
same failures over and over again this season and our
defence has allowed us to mask it in the results. It gets
up the field fine but then it all breaks down into
Absences of George Williams, Sam Tomkins
and Micky McIlorum are not helpful of course but I feel
that a loss might not be a bad thing because you can
perhaps learn better from a defeat that a victory.
Hopefully so because we've Saints and Warrington over the
next two Fridays.
Some might point to the missed goals
from Matty Smith and obviously they were a factor in this
loss but not the reason we lost. Judging the interaction I
had on twitter post match, I think it's pretty unanimous us
fans agree its our poor attack more than anything.
Credit Widnes though. They played far
too excitable rugby for our defence in the first half and I
asked on Wish FM at half time "what is Plan B for them?".
They actually came out second half in a more calm manner
and it worked enough for them to get their first victory at
Wigan since June 2003.
One Wigan player who didn't deserve to
lose this one though was Josh Charnley. Rumour of a
departure to Sale Sharks at the end of the season is rife
at the moment but he's showing signs of the old spark on
the field at least.
It was down to Liam Farrell to give
Wigan the lead though with a superb 70 metre finish of an
intercept thrown by Joe Mellor. Smith missed the extras, as
he did when Charnley scored in the 35th Minute for 8-0.
I always say on the radio "two score
lead gives you control, use it!". Wigan don't though. They
came out second half poorly, made an error and Widnes
scored through Matt Whiteley in seven minutes to make it
8-6 after Rhys Hanbury converted.
Widnes were pushing again to take the
lead and perhaps should of done when Corey Thompson someone
missed a superb grubber from Kevin Brown.
A minute later at least 10-8 to Widnes
had become 12-6 to Wigan with Charnley putting town a bomb
that was allowed to bounce poorly by Widnes.
Smith failed with the kick again but
that score allowed us an element of control again. I
remember we quickly got another attack on the back of this
try and even suggested that a drop goal might not be a bad
option and in hindsight of what came, perhaps we should of
taken it because Widnes soon hit us with a quick fire
Tries from Stefan Marsh and Charly
Runciman turned the game and in three minutes just after
the hour, 12-6 Wigan had become 16-12 to Widnes.
The Vikings were never going to allowed
that lead to slip. They added a penalty for 18-12 with
eight minutes to go and whilst had hope of snatching a draw
right up to the hooter, I was resigned to thinking that we
just didn't deserve to keep getting away with this poor
attack. Widnes saw out the time to remain top, although
they have played a game in hand.
Despite this loss though, it isn't all
doom and gloom. Given our injuries, 5 wins out of 6 isn't a
bad return and we did lose to a side in hot form. At least
we know also that if the attack clicks we'll be fine with
this excellent defence.
The loss puts pressure on Good Friday
but like I said, sometimes you learn more from a defeat and
this could prove to be a well timed loss. Win next week and
this one will be forgotten pretty quickly.