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Midweek Blog: Easter ------> Round 9
Posted by Bilko on March 30 2016 - 23:18

I did chuckle last week when a post to the official St Helens Facebook page panned them for playing a match on Good Friday when “people could be in church celebrating the passion of Christ”.  “Shame on you, calling yourself Saints” the post added.

That proved to be ironic because the Saints side seemed devoid of any passion in the derby and I suspect most Saints fans would have wished they’d been in church instead?

For Wigan though it was an excellent job well done yet again to complete a magnificent seven Easter Derby victories in a row.

I must admit I turned up thinking the game would be a tight affair in which you could toss a coin to decide the outcome. I also looked at the Saints bench having both Alex Walmsley and James Roby on it and thought that would be tough for Wigan, especially with Sam Powell doing 80 minute stints at the moment.

How I needn’t have worried. Powell was absolutely fantastic in this game. I know Sky’s Jon Wells suggested Dom Manfredi was playing the best match of his career, but I’d say Powell did also. He dominated the ruck, highlighted in the stats by his 53 tackles. Nice solo try in the first half also.

The whole Wigan pack dominanted though. To a man they never gave their Saints counterparts an inch all afternoon. Some suggest out pack is too small at times but looks can be deceiving. When they are all on form they are very efficient and the good work of Ben Flower and Tony Clubb in particular is being boosted by some great shifts by Taulima Tautai in recent weeks.

I think the less said about Monday’s match against Hull KR the better. It wasn’t a great watch but we did get the result and that is all that matters in the Easter Period.

Friday will see Warrington visit after they lost for the first time this season at Hull on Monday. A big plus for Wigan could be getting good bodies back fit. I’m writing this before yesterday’s squad announcement but suggestions are that Liam Farrell, Willie Isa and Ben Flower have a chance of returning. That’d be great timing given the fact this came is on the back of the tough Easter Double.

It’ll be a big test obviously but I think if we are going to succeed then our attack will have to hit the high notes that has obviously been lacking this season. Our excellent defence has masked a lot of waste in attack but I can’t see us getting away with that against Tony Smith’s side. Any kind of win will do though in this one.

Late Edit: After writing this, we got news that both Dan Sarginson and Josh Charnley will be leaving Wigan at the end of the season.

I appreciate it is disappointing again for supporters that players are choosing to leave Wigan but in terms of Sarginson, trying the NRL is a young mans option for me. It becomes a different prospect when players start having children, like we saw with both Lee Mossop and Gareth Hock.

The time is now for Sarge and I'm actually quite comfortable with his departure because of the emergence of Oliver Gildart in recent times.

As for Charnley, well he is going after what he clearly craves. His twitter account says it all. His bio promotes his agent and pretty much every one of his tweets is towards "celebrity" from Anthony Cotton of Coronation Street to Scott from the tv show "Geordie Shore".. You can only deduct that's the lifestyle he wants and Rugby Union, particularly if he can make it internationally, will give him a chance of that.

Personally I say good luck to him. He's served Wigan superbly over the years and I'm pretty sure he will go out in excellent form this. Last year he was a shadow of himself for whatever reason but recently we have seen signs of his old form, perhaps because his future has been sorted out?

His departure will open the door for Jack Higginson, who I'm a big fan of, but it would be nice if Wigan went out and bought a top draw signing to appease fans who are naturally disappointed by these constant departures.

Fair enough, some of the departed have returned but I think the declining average attendance can't be ignored and surely Charnley's departure opens up some salary cap room for manoeuvre to buy a top talent?

Let me know what you think anyway.

Twitter: @wiganrlfans
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