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
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
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.
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.