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Match Report: Wigan 12 Widnes 18
Posted by Bilko on March 18 2016 - 00:09

Wigan Warriors v Widnes Vikings - First Utility Super League 21 - Round 6
Thursday 17th March 2016. Kick Off
8:00pm at DW Stadium.

Match Report

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 this.

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 you.

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 winger.

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 flatulent waste.

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 double.

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.

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Widnes 1
4 Dan Sarginson Full Back Rhys Hanbury 1
5 Dom Manfredi

Right Wing

Corey Thompson 2
3 Anthony Gelling Centre Chris Dean 14
20 Oliver Gildart Centre Charly Runciman 4
2 Josh Charnley Left Wing Stefan Marsh 17
13 Sean O'Loughlin Stand Off Joe Mellor 7
7 Matty Smith Scrum Half Kevin Brown 6
10 Ben Flower Prop Eamon O'Carroll 8
16 Sam Powell Hooker Aaron Heremaia 33
15

Tony Clubb

Prop

Gil Dudson

18
14 John Bateman 2nd Row Setimata Sa 15
12 Liam Farrell 2nd Row Chris Houston 11
19

Taulima Tautai

L.Forward

Hep Cahill

13
-
17 Lee Mossop Substitute Manase Manuokofoa 10
21 Ryan Sutton Substitute Macgraff Leuluai 19
26 Greg Burke Substitute Alex Gerrard 20
27 Nick Gregson Substitute Matt Whiteley 22
- Shaun Wane Coach Denis Betts -

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 12

---

Widnes Vikings 18

Tries (3):
Liam Farrell
Josh Charnley 2

---

Tries (3):
Matt Whiteley
Stefan Marsh
Charly Runciman

Goals:
Matty Smith 0/3
--- Goals:
Rhys Hanbury 3/4

Scoring and Incident Pattern

16mins:42 Wigan 04 Widnes 00 Try: Liam Farrell
Wigan 04 Widnes 00 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (0/1)
34mins:37 Wigan 08 Widnes 00 Try: Josh Charnley
Wigan 08 Widnes 00 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (0/2)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 08 Widnes Vikings 00
44mins:57 Wigan 08 Widnes 04 Try: Matt Whiteley
Wigan 08 Widnes 06 Conversion: Rhys Hanbury (1/1)
52mins:50 Wigan 12 Widnes 06 Try: Josh Charnley (2)
Wigan 12 Widnes 06 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (0/3)
59mins:59 Wigan 12 Widnes 10 Try: Stefan Marsh
Wigan 12 Widnes 10 Missed Conv: Rhys Hanbury (1/2)
62mins:25 Wigan 12 Widnes 14 Try: Charly Runciman
Wigan 12 Widnes 16 Conversion: Rhys Hanbury (2/3)
71mins:47 Wigan 12 Widnes 18 Penalty Goal: Rhys Hanbury (3/4)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 12 Widnes Vikings 18

Referee

Richard Silverwood

Penalties Conceded

Wigan 8 Widnes 9

Match Attendance

11,773

Weather

Dry Night.

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