The first 35 minutes of this season opener was a
complete disaster for Wigan. They were dominated in every department by
a spirited Leigh side and lost debutant Jai Field to injury.
The 18-0 deficit was a fair score. Leigh were all
over Wigan at marker and were forcing errors left right and centre. They
were out enthused and tries from Liam Hood, Iain Thornley and Ben
Hellewell left Wigan in total disarray. The only excuse you could offer
was that Leigh had two friendlies to Wigan's one.
The injury to Jai Field left everyone wondering what
chance could Wigan have from this situation but initially John Bateman
had switched to centre to cover the absence but with the first half
closing he was swapped with Liam Farrell probably playing at centre for
the first time in his Wigan career.
The switch worked because Bateman's offload got Jake
Bibby over for 18-4 on 37 minutes and he was involved again before Bibby
got Hardaker over for 18-8. The conversions were both missed but that
was a flattering reward for that first half.
However the signs were showing that Leigh had shot
their energy bolt and in truth Wigan, without sparkling too much,
controlled the second half against an increasingly tired looking Leigh
Leigh had opportunity to increase the lead and that
probably would have won had they scored but two quick fire tries from
Joe Bullock and a second Bibby on 62 and 66 minutes had turned an 18-8
deficit into a 20-18 lead with Hardaker converting these two.
That proved enough. Leigh only had one chance to
threaten but Wigan looked more in control with a better forward effort
laying platform for Harry Smith to have better options on the last and
two kicks pinning Leigh right in the corner to start a set highlighted
Wigan very ugly in this opener but relieved to get
the victory and will be delighted to move on with two points on the