After an hour last
Friday, I must admit I was in despair at our attack having only scored
eight points but it was a great finish for an excellent result against
Castleford. Given what had happened at Wakefield the previous Sunday
It was only after I’d written last week’s piece that Kris Radlinski
came out on Wigan TV and explained the full extent of the illness that had
hit the team in the run up to Wakefield match.
Only quote stuck we me in particular when he said that “There were
uncharacteristic things happening that don’t usually happen in a Wigan
team”. He was spot on with that.
I’ve been doing radio commentary for four seasons now and I can’t
recall ever saying that Wigan “had lost the ruck”. I said that at
Wakefield becvause they were getting massacred around the play the ball
area but when you hear about the illness problems you begin to understand
why. I recall both Tony Clubb and Ryan Sutton being left for dead
defensively also. Complete one offs!
Straight away against Castleford you could tell that Wigan were back on
their game in terms of strong defence and intensity. I suppose looking
back I commentated in fear, when we went 12-8 down, because I worried the
illness problems might lead to flagging fitness in the final quarter.
However, it actually went the other way. Wigan finished the match
magnificently in the final half hour and I think a much improved kicking
game in that spell helped immensely to keep Castleford at bay.
Patience was also good because it took ten minutes of trying before
John Bateman scored a great try to get Wigan ahead.
Despite ten minutes passing with Wigan holding just a 14-12 lead, they
had total control of the game and it was justified that Nick Gregson
extended the lead further with a lovely drop of the shoulder to claim his
first Wigan try.
A short kick off won by Cas provided Wigan with some defensive sweat
but it was to great credit that we saw that off as well before Bateman put
the cherry on top of his man of the match cake.
Overall our attack is still labouring (19.2 points average per match is
way off the pace) but that last twenty was more like it and I hope
returning players will help it to click rather than clunk.
I just wonder now if we can beat Huddersfield by one point on Thursday
and become, surely, the first team ever to lead the table after 12 matches
with a negative points difference. That would be something weird.