Well, the last thing I expected today
was to be commentating on a result like that. Wigan's third
worst defeat in their entire 121 year history.
Normally you should be angry at a shameful loss like that
but I'm not quite in that zone myself. I'm realistic that
the absences of Sam Tomkins, Anthony Gelling, Dom Manfredi,
George Williams, Dom Crosby, Micky McIlorum, Ben Flower,
Liam Farrell, Sean O'Loughlin and John Bateman are tough on
us. The reason being because, I'd say, every single one of
those absent would be first choice starting 13. Maybe
Bateman on the bench if your starting Joel and Farrell but everyone else would be in the
It doesn't excuse the way we played
today, or the way we collapsed, but negates needing to
worry about this one heavy defeat in isolation going
That is a hell of a lot of talent to return.
62-0 though. Credit Wakefield. They were excellent and if
you are looking at that score thinking of the Wakefield of
last season being a mug side, forget it! This was their
fourth win in a row and the side looks different gravy
under recently new coach Chris Chester.
From the off Wakefield were full of energy with a high
tempo. Wigan in comparison looked a beaten side from early
on. The energy was low and highlighted by, from memory,
Tony Clubb and Ryan Sutton both being found statuesque at
the play the ball towards eventual Wakefield scores. Missed
tackles were aplenty from others as well.
It showed as the first half wore on. Wigan had lost the ruck
entirely. Whether it was going left, right or down the
middle, Wakefield were making easy ground from the play the
ball and it was just a
case of picking us off through opening gaps.
The defensive line standing back was the
recipe for the disaster which followed. I remember one time
when a Wakefield man, Tinirau Arona I think it was, juggled the ball and was ripe for
being smashed so it would be a knock on but because our
line was so slow, he had time to not only re-gather but hop
twice on the spot to regain his composure. These were all
early signs in the game and it all led to it falling apart
like a deck of cards today.
The amount of inexperienced youngsters contributed today also. Nothing against Jack
Wells, Joe Bretherton, Jack Higginson or Nick Gregson but I
honestly don't think they should be in this position. I
think it highlighted massively that the Under 19s cut off
is far too soon. Fair enough Oliver Gildart has looked solid but generally I think it's too
Sam Tomkins for example played 89 academy matches before he got a first
team league debut. Gregson has played 59, Higginson 48,
Bretherton 44 and Wells 25. Even going off that cup debut
of Sam Tomkins he'd played 76 academy games.
That loss of game
time towards first team is deeply worrying in my eyes and I
think we are now feeling the pinch. In 2012 we had an Under
18s side that was leading to an Under 20s side before first
team. That second level has now gone and it's the current players coming
through who are losing that benefit.
Sam Tomkins played 48 matches in the
aforementioned second tier before he even got to the level
that is now our Under 19s. That is almost two full seasons
worth in a second tier academy before reaching the top
Losing that will harm the game massively over the next few
years in my eyes. I worry that we are going to get results like today more
and more in times of injury crisis.
To be fair it's been happening to smaller clubs for a long
while, and after today I feel their pain, but if it begins
to happen to the teams at the top, and we are still two
points off the top with the leagues second best defence
despite today, then how can we ever expect an England team
to compete internationally? It frustrates me because before
then we were making huge steps forward. I fear we may take
huge steps back now. We shall see.
I think also today, Wigan's decision not to get any loan
help in to help Sam Powell at hooker caught up with us.
Like I said earlier, the ruck was lost massively today and
I think Powell is screaming for a rest but with the numbers
out we just can't do it.
Matty Smith is
under huge criticism from a lot of Wigan fans also and it's hard
to defend him at the moment. Our last tackle was again poor
today with Tony Clubb being amongst the kickers at one
point. Smith had to be the leader in these tough times but
he offered little today in all honesty.
pointed to illness in the camp also being a factor and
watching that display, I can see merit in that. We were just off
from the start and I do genuinely feel Wakefield caught us
on the best day possible. Credit them for cashing in
because I did say during commentary that we looked ripe for
them to do so.
It's been a bad day but I
think a number of factors contributed to the bad day for
us. Being still on the back of the tough Easter being
another excuse perhaps. You may think differently to me and that's fine,
I know plenty have said their is no excuse for a Wigan
performance like that, but personally I choose to see where Wigan are in a months time before
fully evaluating this one bad day.
have the majority of those ten out fit for a potential big
cup tie, and who knows what the draw might bring, in early May
and we win it, then this loss will have been more than
worth it. IF is the key though. Let's see what Friday v
Castleford brings first I suppose.