Arguably the Wigan side that met
Warrington this time was weaker than the one that played
them earlier in the month. On that occasion we had Dom
Manfredi, Sean O'Loughlin, Liam Farrell and Joel Tomkins
out on the park.
So was it realistic to expect anything
much different that what we saw? Fair enough, Warrington
have lost Chris Sandow since then but he is the only one of
their first 14 squad numbers absent whilst Wigan played
this game without numbers 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 in
comparison, whilst Number 6 George Williams was just
returning off the bench after almost two months absence.
I mean if the Warrington equivalents in
numbers - Kurt Gidley, Matty Russell, Chris Hill, Daryl
Clark, Ashton Sims, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes and Ben
Westwood - were all absent for this game playing a full
strength, bar one player, Wigan you'd more than likely get
a similar result the opposite way.
You just have to accept that Warrington
are a damn good side and when almost fully fit like they
are, it's going to be hard for a full strength Wigan to
beat them, let alone one missing so many.
That though is in no way can excuse for
Wigan's continuation of poor attack. I mean we had a spell
of attack second half that eventually led to a try but I
have to be honest, I was doing some groaning on the radio
because the passes were so erratic and it is frustrating
because it's been a problem since day 1 of the season and
shows little sign of improving.
The absence of Wigan's entire starting
pack, by squad number anyway, practically decided this game
for me. First twenty minutes was a good battle. We were
well in the game, took a good lead, and I thought Tony
Clubb was immense during this period.
But once the interchanges came in
though, Wigan withered away pretty quickly. Taulima
Tautai's impact was pretty poor with two conceded high
tackle penalties and a forward pass being punished by three
Warrington tries. You cannot give control of a game away
that cheaply. Wigan also began to be dominated in the ruck
and if that happens then tries being scored is inevitable.
Warrington were just too good on the
night and we have to accept that. It helps when they can
get down field so easily but every single last tackle play
that they produced put pressure on Wigan defenders and then
backed it up with strong defence. A spell around the 20-30
minute mark saw them three times trap Wigan inside their
own twenty on sets that had begun with good kicks by them.
That spell turned the game.
Overall I think, given the lengthy
absences we've endured, to reach the cup break inside the
Top 4 is a great achievement. However, our attack has to be
improve significantly. Fans are not enjoying watching that
stuff one bit.
I've said before - the worst attack to
win a Super League Title was Leeds in 2007 who averaged
27.7 points per match in the regular season. Wigan 2016
average just 19 points. That highlights how far off the
mark we are. Hopefully we can get some bodies back on the
field when league action returns with another top 4 clash
against Hull in a fortnight.