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Midweek Blog: Round 16 -------> Round 17
Posted by Bilko on June 09 2016 - 08:32

As appeared in Wigan Evening Post 18th Man Page - 7th June 2016

Apart from the last seven minutes when Wigan seemingly did their level best to chuck away this result, this was another excellent away day for Wigan.

Salford of old was more often than not an easy trip for Wigan but those days look to be gone. Like I hinted at last week, the six points deduction is deflecting from the fact that Salford are having a pretty tidy season this year, especially at their home ground where they had found six wins from eight before Wiganís visit.

Without those lost points theyíd be comfortably inside the Top 8 at the moment and they provided Wigan with a good pack battle and more importantly some defensive steel that Wigan had to work hard to break down.

Wiganís coaching staff though had clearly done their homework. Iíve no doubt theyíll have seen on video that Justin Carney likes to go AWOL on his wing and it was exposed to the full with Josh Charnley gaining the twelfth hat-trick of his Wigan career.

The result also saw Wigan join Warrington, Catalan and Hull in being six points clear inside the Top 4, the positions you want to be in for the play offs come October. Six points is a huge gap and whilst itís nice for Wigan to be comfortable at the moment, I donít think itís great for the league that we have that kind of gap with still 13 matches to play. At this stage last year 10th place was only four points off the top four, this year 5th place isnít even that close.

You honestly canít see that gap being closed though. Saints are nearest but face Catalan Away this weekend and mutiny is in the air at Langtree Park with them not only losing matches but being well beaten by the top sides in recent weeks. The really poor crowd for the visit of Warrington last Friday was quite reflective of the mood around that town.

It was perhaps not great timing then for Keiron Cunningham and Sean Long to both be inducted into the St Helens hall of fame on Sunday but that occurring surely makes it difficult for them to be sacked?

For Wigan this week itís all about continuing this form at Hull KR on Friday. During one set at Salford last week the travelling support cheered every tackle as Wigan kept the Red Devils trapped near their try line. That told me that Wigan fans are beginning to enjoy their away trips again because they are seeing much more competitive displays. Letís hope we continue the roll on with a good win on Humberside!

I hope and I pray that our attack will finally spark into life this Saturday and put in performance that will surely condemn Leeds to the embarrassing indignity of Middle 8s Rugby come the mid-season split.

I have the faith to be honest, because weíve put in some great performances at Magic Weekend in recent years, but if we produce what has been a very typical first half display this season then I donít think weíll beat Leeds. I hope we are at this one from the off!

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