If anyone wanted an advert for scrapping
the second part of the Easter weekend double, then this was
I thought it was a tame spectacle but let's first of all give massive credit to Hull KR
who came with a young side and kept fighting all night
long. They did their support proud and I don't think they
could have done any better than they did to be honest. A
far cry from the 84-6 massacre on Easter Monday three years
Wigan though were pretty poor and
lacklustre but yet I never really doubted we would win the
game. I always thought we would find enough gears to get
the job done. That said, I didn't think we'd be waiting
until the 67th Minute to finally find the game breaking
It has dawned on me that we did actually
witness Wigan's best attacking return of the season, with
30 points being posted, but you still can't get past how
poor, wasteful and lethargic this attack is and what is
worrying me is that it's on a constant repeat. It's not
showing any signs of getting any better.
Fair enough, results are still being
maintained but it's frustrating and hard to watch the
attack disintegrating all the time and wasting it's
territory far more often than it isn't.
I have to say though. I've been writing
reports on games since 2002 and I'm not one for having a go
at referees, particularly ever blaming them for a defeat.
However on this occasion I thought the referee performance
was really poor.
Chris Kendall refereed his first Super
League match only last September and whilst I appreciate
that he is a young ref learning his trade, it worries me
that he is up to Super League level already having only
officiated an Under 19s match at Orrell as recently as
To be blunt about it, I thought he
looked way out his depth. Not his fault I suspect but he
didn't look ready for this level to me. He gave tons of
penalties in this match and the vast majority were for
interference it seemed.
The ruck ended up being absolutely
rancid to watch and I think the way he officiated the was a
factor in this awful spectacle of a match. I couldn't
understand a lot of his decisions and also some of his
non-decisions. I honestly don't get frustrated by referees
that often, as my radio commentaries will testify, but on
this occasion, I was baffled constantly.
I don't blame him though and I wish him
all the best for his career. I just question why officials
like Gareth Hewer (who officiated in Super League far back
as 2008) and Jamie Bloem are being kept on Championship
matches, yet an official like Kendall goes from Under 19s
to Super League, leapflogging that experience, in two and
If he is deemed better on merit then
fair play but I assume more that it is because he is full
time and the two others mentioned are part time? Whatever
the reason, it just doesn't seem right to me.
Anyway, on to the game itself. Wigan
started with academy debutant Luke Waterworth at hooker and
he did ok despite only playing the first twenty minutes.
You felt the interchange would be
Wigan's strength and it threatened to be when the deadlock
was broken on 25 minutes. It was a great diagonal run and
finish from Lewis Tierney who steamed onto a Joel Tomkins
pass. Josh Charnley was on goal kicking, because Matty
Smith had a tight hamstring but he missed the extras.
Like so often this season, Wigan's
wasteful attack was pushing it's luck and with discipline
lacking in defence, Rovers were getting chances to attack.
It still looked like Wigan would keep up their fabulous
first half defensive record this season but they ended up
being sucker punched twice with Rovers going into the sheds
with two tries.
First Graeme Horne crossed, then Iain
Thornley got a gift of a score from a Wigan error. Kieran
Dixon converted the first score which left Wigan trailing
10-4 at the break.
I tweeted at half time that I'd be
"flabbergasted" if Wigan played that badly second half and
I was right, they didn't. That's not to say they improved
They got level within five minutes after
a loose ball was collected and returned 90 metres under the
posts by Charnley, who added a second try from 1 metre out,
after a great offload by Dan Sarginson, four minutes later.
Conversion of the first put Wigan 14-10 up.
But that lead was lost quickly when
Thornley soon grabbed a second for Rovers with the extras
by Dixon putting them back in front at 16-14.
That score held for the next 15 minutes
and although I had always felt confident we would win
despite the poor show, time was ticking on and you felt
Rovers really were deserving of the win.
It wasn't to be for them though. A
second quick fire double of the half on 67 and 69 minutes
decided the contest Wigan's way. First Anthony Gelling's
good work squeezed Dom Manfredi in the right corner before
Oliver Gildart finished well from 30 metres on the left
side for a four pointer. Charnley again only converted one
of the score but crucially Wigan had a two score lead at
The result never looked in doubt from
that moment and Wigan would seal the job done with Charnley
completing his hat-trick with an 80 metre loose ball return
under the sticks to seal a 30-16 victory.
Hopefully Charnley can use that to be a
return towards his old form. He seems more like it week by
week. This was the 12th Hat-Trick of his Wigan career but
his first since July 2014 at London.
After all said and done, despite this
hard to watch performance, Easter weekend has been a job
well done for Wigan. They join Wakefield, Hull and Catalan
in having won both Easter Games but they still have the
small matter of Warrington to play on Friday at the DW. The
hard grind of this period of the season is not over yet!