A gutsy victory for Wigan who had to overcome an
early head assessment for Joe Greenwood, a fifth minute sin bin for
Willie Isa, absence of Joe Burgess and Oliver Gildart due to covid
restrictions and also finding themselves 12-0 down after 20 minutes.
The combination of losing Greenwood and Isa made it a
very back foot start which was also compounded by an early poor error by
Jake Bibby. Warrington peppered not only where Isa was absent but also
Morgan Smithies, returning for six matches suspension, who had come on
for Greenwood very early. He was missing tackles early for fun and this
enabled a break that resulted in a penalty try for Matty Ashton who was
cleared stopped from scoring off the ball by Dom Manfredi. He was
perhaps fortunate to escape sin bin himself but the penalty decision
made it an easy conversion for Stefan Ratchford for 6-0. A barge over by
Chris Hill made it 12-0 on 20 minutes.
Wigan were definetly on the back foot and in real
danger at this point but a big clean hit by Oliver Partington on Blake
Austin, that created an error and a break, eventually resulted in a try
for Joe Greenwood that Hardaker converted for 12-6.
Timely on the back of that try both Joe Shorrocks and
new debutant Brad Singleton came off the bench whilst Warrington began
to sub off the likes of Chris Hill. It created a more even arm wrestle
that carried the score to half time. Wigan then levelled within four
minutes of the restart with Zak Hardaker scoring and converting.
Warrington did retake the lead with a penalty from
Ratchford for 14-12 on 50 minutes but it felt like they had begun to run
out of ideas against a strong Wigan defence. They probably should have
been at least ten points up rather than two.
The longer the match went on though, Wigan got
stronger and the introduction of Harry Smith, replacing Sam Powell, on
the hour provided a cohesive last tackle option that had been severly
lacking for most of the game.
Some waste though was proving frustrating. Joe
Bullock found a worm with a poor pass whilst a rare bad pass by Liam
Farrell stopped Jake Bibby from getting a chance to score.
Farrell redempted the gingers though by finding the
winning try with four minutes to go after the likes of Dom Manfredi had
dented the Wire defensive line with a move down the right. Hardaker
converted for 18-14 and Wigan even won the inevitable short kick off
Time was seen out for an important and well earned